20 Great Books for Public Speaking tips and tricks in 2019

Last Updated: February 1, 2019

Business success increasingly depends on verbal and visual presentation skills. Our choice of 20 of the best-selling public speaking books is a guidemap for finding the public speaking tips and tricks that will have you presenting and pitching like a pro.

    by Agent Staff
public speaking tips and tricks, tips for speaking in public, how to get better at public speaking
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Because of the way in which the visual and verbal, the audio and the visual, has superseded text in the modern business world, business leaders or those assigned to represent the public-facing side of the company need to keep up to speed with the latest public speaking tips and tricks to ensure they make the optimum engagement via their videos or face-to-face presentations.

Public speaking can be anathema to many, but the internet places at the fingertips of almost everyone a veritable treasure trove of public speaking tips and tricks, specific tuition and tips for speaking in public, and advice on how to get better at public speaking.

The real substance underpinning these public speaking tips and tricks, though, is to be found in the published literature on the subject. The difficulty for the newcomer to the subject is, of course, where to start, given the vastness of the field of research. To help you on your search for the best public speaking tips and tricks, we have narrowed the search down to a list of the best-selling and other popular books on how to get better at public speaking.

These 20 books encompass the latest editions of best-selling, classic, long-standing academic textbooks, in additions to standout texts of self-improvement, and brings you right up to date on how to get better at public speaking in the modern business environment, with works by some of the best-selling and most highly-regarded authors in this field.

 

Public Speaking Tips and Tricks – Our Pick of 20 Books

Whether you are a newcomer to the area of public speaking and feel nervous and out of your depth, or a seasoned pitcher who would like to polish their skills to the highest degree, there is something on this list for anyone who wants to learn from the latest and most authoritative public speaking tips and tricks.

 

 

1. ‘The Art of Public Speaking’ by Stephen E. Lucas

 

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This has been a cornerstone of public speaking and presentation training for the past three decades. This is a textbook that bridges the gap between the classroom and life with ease, guiding the reader in critical thinking strategies as well as helping to build confidence and imparting the techniques that will make you an exemplar of public speaking. Stephen E Lucas is Professor Communication Arts and Evjue-Bascom Professor in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he has taught since 1972.

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2. ‘A Pocket Guide to Public Speaking’ by Dan O’Hair, Hannah Rubenstein & Rob Stewart

 

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Another of the top selling public speaking text books for students of public speaking, A Pocket Guide to Public Speaking is a brief introduction, but brimful of great, practical information on every aspect of delivering a speech in public. It is a primer, covering everything from research right up to delivery. It’s a super convenient size, written in a concise, bare-essentials-and-no-fuss style that is everything that the newcomer to public speaker will need to get off the ground.

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3. ‘Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds’ by Carmine Gallo

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Steve Gallo is the author of the pitch enthusiasts’ ‘bible’, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience, and this TED-related book, which boils down to nine secrets of effective presentation, gleaned from his analysis of more than 500 TED Talks. Drawing on the research of psychologists and other experts in communications, Gallo also offers pearls of wisdom extracted from interviews with some of the most notable TED Talks speakers. This has broad appeal, bound to be read as enthuastically by a fan of TED Talks as it will be digested by public speakers.

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4. ‘Speak Up!’ by Douglas M Fraleigh and Joseph S Tuman

 

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The latest edition of this classic introduction to public speaking, Fraleigh and Tuman’s Speak Up!: An Illustrated Guide to Public Speaking  is lauded as an effective educational text book as well as a fantastic read, especially with Peter Arkle’s illustrations which help to keep things moving with an entertaining and engaging pop culture zip.

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5. ‘TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking’ by Chris Anderson

 

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The CEO of TED Chris Anderson has been at the head of the organisation since the early 2000s, and so is one of the ultimate authoritative sources on public speaking in the modern era. He has an intuitive understanding of how the best speakers and presentations can get the audience onside, stir excitement and share knowledge, both within the presentation room and much farther beyond. For TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking, Anderson draws on a huge range of material drawn from working with the best TED speakers in a bid to help you become a master of impactful presentation.

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6. ‘Public Speaking – An Audience-Centered Approach’ by Steven A. Beebe and Susan J. Beebe

 

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Steven A. Beebe and Susan J Beebe’s Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach (9th Edition) is another acclaimed and best-selling public speaking and presentation text, used within education, but also a perennial resource for life after education, with its distinctive audience-centred approach, which shows you how to consider your listeners at every stage of your presentation. With engaging and practical examples and case studies, and suggested activities that will reinforce everything you have learned, this is another keeper.

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7. ‘Public Speaking: Finding Your Voice’ by Michael Osborn, Suzanne Osborn, Randall Osborn and Kathleen J Turner

 

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This best-selling introductory public speaking text by Michael Osborn, Suzanne Osborn, Randall Osborn and Kathleen J Turner helps students and readers to improve their excellence in public speaking as part of general growth and development as a person. Public Speaking: Finding Your Voice (10th Edition)  focuses on motivations and interests, as as well speaking techniques, and also taps into the authors’ MyCommunicationLab, with interactive video, online self-assessments and other testing tools that allow students to chart their own growth in public speaking.

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8. ‘Practically Speaking’ by J Dan Rothwell

 

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Rothwell is chair of the Communication Studies Department at Cabrillo College, and his Practically Speaking is acclaimed as a great introduction to public speaking, written in a fun, accessible style, that conveys the fundamentals of public speaking effectively. The book is particularly strong (and engagingly funny) on combating speech anxiety.

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9. ‘A Concise Public Speaking Handbook’ by Steven A. Beebe & Susan J Beebe

 

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Another entry by Steven A. Beebe and Susan J. Beebe, A Concise Public Speaking Handbook (4th Edition)  is a concise primer in preparing, researching and delivering a speech underpinned by the Beebes’ signature audience-focused strategy, which shows the speaker how to consider and analyse the audience at every step of the process. As a comprehensive round-up of the core presentation skills, this is an excellent resource for public speaking in any walk of life.

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10. ‘Public Speaking for College & Career’ by Hamilton Gregory

 

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Hamilton Gregory’s Public Speaking for College & Career, 10th Edition is aimed at improving your skills of public speaking both as a student and throughout your career. This comes with a wealth of resources and tools that will help you research and write your presentations, while helping you to master the fundamentals of public speaking. Public Speaking for College & Career is one of the cornerstone texts in this area.

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11. ‘The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking’ by Dale Carnegie

 

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This is one of the definitive and classic public speaking reference works. Self-help colossus Carnegie is no longer with us, of course, but his lessons for effective public speakers are timeless. Unsurprisingly, The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking focuses on boosting your confidence, as well as using props and exercises to develop your speech. Sure, it’s old school, but in this case, there is no school like the old school.

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12. ‘Speaking Up Without Freaking Out’ by Matthew Abrahams

 

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Speaking Up without Freaking Out is a great resource for speakers who are prone to being overcome by nerves prior to their pitches. There are no fewer than 50 detailed tips here to help you tackle your fear of public speaking, each with examples and specific techniques that you can employ in your presentations. Indispensable for someone new to the field, or who has ‘ducked’ it for years because of misconceptions about it.

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13. ‘Confessions of a Public Speaker’ by Scott Berkun

 

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The sub-title of Berkun’s Confessions of a Public Speaker shows that this is a book for entrepreneurs who are ready to “tell, sell and compel”. There is some great information in here for those who want to blitz their pitches with maximum engagement presentations. This is a great book, easy to understand, and you will find that the skills it imparts will stand you in good stead in life as well as in business.

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14. ‘Do You Talk Funny?’ by Dave Nihill

 

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Do You Talk Funny?: 7 Comedy Habits to Become a Better (and Funnier) Public Speaker is written by a stand-up comedian turned public speaker. Nihill also has a great podcast and even runs a course on Udemy. But if you want a take-along companion, you can’t go wrong with this in your bag. Its most interesting lesson is examining and demonstrating how comic timing can give your speeches maximum impact… and make them genuinely funnier too. Win-win!

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15. ‘Give Your Speech, Change the World’ by Nick Morgan

 

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Nick Morgan is a professional public speaker and the title of this book, Give Your Speech, Change the World: How To Move Your Audience to Action , is also the name of his overall mission statement. In fact, he says that changing the world is the only reason to speak in public. That is how important public speaking is to him, and that is certainly how he grabbed our attention with this book. If you are a ‘big picture’ thinker, and want to take your ideas onto the largest stage possible, this is the book to help you achieve that goal.

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16. ‘How to Win the World Championship of Public Speaking’ by Jeremey Donovan

 

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Toastmasters is the world’s premier organisation for people who want to improve their public speaking skills, so, particularly if you’re a member, Jeremey Donovan’s How to Win the World Championship of Public Speaking: Secrets of the International Speech Contest will have instant appeal. Here, he takes the reader through how to deliver a speech, illustrating his practical tips by using insightful materials from his interviews with competitive public speakers and former champions of the International Speech Contest run by Toastmasters. So whether you wish to win this competition, or have a burning desire to develop a skill set of that world-beating standard, look no further.

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17. ‘How to Deliver a Great TED Talk’ by Akash Karia

 

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How to Deliver a Great TED Talk: Presentation Secrets of the World’s Best Speakers is one of the very best guides to public speaking, as it uses as its benchmark the principles of TED Talks which are so widely consulted in business these days. In a clear and concise no-frills writing style, Akash explores various principles and examples, illustrating them with case studies drawn from the best TED Talks, in addition to examples from movies, news and elsewhere. This is a fantastic ‘how to’ guide for devising presentations.

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18. ‘How to Be Brilliant At Public Speaking’ by Sarah Lloyd-Hughes

 

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Sarah Lloyd-Hughes is a trainer in public speaking, and How to Be Brilliant at Public Speaking  is a deep-dive into the waters of public speaking that yields numerous pearls of wisdom. It is an amazingly rewarding read, either for the first-timer, or for the more experienced practitioner who wants to polish their skills to a high sheen. She’s funny too, and includes numerous case studies and practical examples that are constructive and engaging.

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19. ‘Be The Best Bad Presenter’ by Karen Hough

 

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Karen Hough is a successful international speaker, but that does not stop her from thoroughly exploring and celebrating the mistakes and fluffs that can give nightmares to ‘bad’ presenters. Karen’s message in Be the Best Bad Presenter Ever  is simple. Deliver your speech. If you screw up it’s okay. And most importantly, like Michelle Mazur (below), she has a heathy skepticism about the classic ‘rules’ of public speaking, and has the experience to back up her exhortations to break them!

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20. ‘Speak Up For Your Business’ by Michelle Mazur

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Michelle Mazur makes no apology for pitching her work as a resource for business owners and pitchers. Speak Up For Your Business  is gold for those who stand or fall on their ability to deliver winning business pitches. Michelle’s blog, Communication Rebel Blog, foregrounds her maverick streak, and this truly enlivens the subject, dragging the time-honoured ‘rules’ of public speaking into the daylight for thorough examination and reboot.

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