TED Talks: The Official TED Guide To Public Speaking by Chris Anderson

Book Review by Speaking Coach Geraldine Barkworth

TED Talks is a fabulous book. Essential reading for the modern presenter. Filled with poignant tips and practical examples of how to use spoken word to creatively get your ideas across in a very short time.

I’ll be brutally honest. 80% of “how to public speak” books and videos bore me silly. There are always gems in every offering, but boy do you have to wade through alot of mud to find the rubies.

Ted Talks the book, makes the ancient art of public speaking exciting, relevant and a must have accessory for anyone who seeks to be heard.

The Aha! Not Ho-Hum of Public Speaking

I’ve always struggled to neatly explain what I do for a living as it’s so much more than public speaking. “Public Speaking” has alot of ho-hum baggage. Chris Anderson reframes “public speaking” as an  “aha!” moment for great ideas to be shared and every voice to be heard. With the internet as vehicle, 20 minute talks can literally change the world and bring us closer to one another through shared humanity and technology.

TED Talks is written specifically for writing and delivering a short TED-style talk. It covers the fundamentals of purpose, message, story, structure, delivery, inspiring action and managing your nerves to get you out in front of people. The book is totally applicable for all styles of presentation. The focus is on communicating your ideas authentically and clearly, not perfect polished oration.

Just Read These Two Books

If you only ever read two public speaking books in your life, make them:

  1. TED Talks by Chris Anderson
  2. Be Heard Now by Lee Glickstein

These two books share a tender compassion for people and ideas. And both provide practical steps on how to tap into your own humanity and connect us all to something bigger. Exciting, life changing stuff. I love witnessing people unfurl themselves and their ideas in front of me. It’s why I’m still a speaking coach after 20 years.

(c) 2018, Geraldine Barkworth, From Fear to Fabulous Speaking Coach. This book review is the opinion of the author only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy Morin

Book Review by Speaking Coach Geraldine Barkworth

This is a good book to help you grow onward and upward after cultivating a strong stable base. Think beautiful flower, contributing to eco system around it, rather than becoming the next CEO tyrant of Wall Street.

What I especially liked about 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do was:

  • no pop psychology, quick fixes or faddish positivism – back to basics learning how to manage your own self defeating behaviours through your thoughts, behaviours and feelings – the basis of strong mental health.
  • the wake up call I received upon reading it – I had slipped into a self indulgent habit of decline.
  • the emphasis on self responsibility – taking control of your inner life to create a satisfying outer life.

A Snapshot of Chapter Headings To Inspire You

  • Chapter 2: They Don’t Give Away Their Power
  • Chapter 4: They Don’t Focus On Things They Can’t Control
  • Chapter 5: They Don’t Worry About Pleasing Everyone

If you have already worked with me as your Speaking Coach or Trainer, you’ll recognise many of these same themes. Speaking starts from the inside. Cultivate your inner life to communicate with richness.

Gentle and powerful. I’m keeping psychotherapist Amy Morin’s 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by the side of my bed to keep me on track. And here’s a link to Amy’s website which includes pdf downloads and a link to a TED Talk for those who prefer video to books.

(c) 2018, Geraldine Barkworth, From Fear to Fabulous Speaking Coach. This book review is the opinion of the author only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

This Is A Voice: 99 Exercises To Train, Project & Harness The Power Of Your Voice By Jeremy Fisher & Gillyanne Kayes

Book Review By Geraldine Barkworth, Speaking Coach

Great book filled with simple techniques for professional speakers, singers, actors and voice professionals. It offers useful exercises for anyone who wants greater control over their voice to become a more confident, persuasive and vocally powerful speaker.

I immediately dipped into This Is A Voice to share exercises with my clients. In particular:

  • Voice projection for over loud and over soft speakers. Vocal variation adds dimension, depth and variety and ensures listeners can hear and understand you.

 

  • The annoying Australian habit of rising inflection… “This is a lovely cup of coffee?” where every sentence sounds like a question. It causes listeners to assume the speaker doesn’t know what they are talking about and are seeking reassurance. Yup; this vocal habit will not get you elected as the next Prime Minister.

 

  • Body balancing exercise to re-centre yourself before and after speaking. Take a moment to consider how much you have magically learnt about a speaker just through listening to their voice. To astute listeners, so much about us emotionally, intellectually and culturally is revealed through tone, emphasis and word choice. It makes sense to ground and retune yourself before speaking, to ensure you deliver what you intend to say on so many levels.

 

© 2018, Geraldine Barkworth, Speaking Coach, www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au. This Book Review of This Is A Voice is the opinion of the author only.

Tell To Win: Connect, Persuade & Triumph With The Hidden Power Of Story, by Peter Guber

Book Review By Geraldine Barkworth, Speaking Coach

♥ Love This One

Tell To Win is a keeper. It’s a wonderful addition to my reference library on story telling, persuasive speaking and inspiring people with genuine emotion. Tell To Win is a delightful book filled with incredibly useful tips, reframes and stories for tapping into the power of purposeful story telling. My husband read it first and choked up every time he tried to read me one of the stories. So much good stuff in one little book from the local library. I began to fold corners as reminders of “the good bits”, but really there were so many, I ordered the book online. I’ve now asterisked, underlined and happily dog-eared my own copy. My husband recommends it to so many people, there’s now a waiting list at the local library. To get your own copy, order it from PeterGuber.com

3 Gems From Tell To Win:

  • p.57: “Stories make facts and figures memorable, resonant and actionable… ignite empathy in the room and face to face and your audience won’t just hear you, they’ll feel you. (Geez I love that bit!!)
  • p.174-5: “…mirror neurons in the brain only switch on when the sense another person is acting intentionally… humans begin reading each other’s intentions as soon as they are physically close enough to see, hear and smell each another… intention can speak louder than words.
  • p.197: Human communication is mostly non verbal. Half is visual and one third is vocal tone. We talk through our senses, rather than our words.

The author, Peter Guber works in the movie, entertainment and sports industries often as CEO. He is well connected and fills his book with stories, case studies and examples of famous people, firms and films. Here’s a quote from the actor George Clooney who says it well: “If anyone knows how to survive in business, it’s Peter. This book is a manual for that. It gives you the two keys to success – first, everything starts with a good story, and second, don’t drop names (actually Frank Sinatra told me that.”)

© 2017 Geraldine Barkworth, Speaking Coach. Articles and reviews reflect the opinion of the author only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

Body Language: Learn How To Read Others And Communicate With Confidence by Elizabeth Kuhnke

Book Review by Geraldine Barkworth, Speaking Coach

♥ Love This One

“The purpose of this book is to help you recognize the power of body language and turn you into a top notch communicator.” (p. 8). Like every word in this little book, the author Elizabeth Kuhnke efficiently articulates how to inspire and relate to others based on your ability to read body language. These are essential skills for coaches, therapists, trainers, managers, leaders and people who work with people… as almost everyone needs to build empathy, trust and rapport and learn how to persuade, negotiate and lead. And yes, that includes introducing yourself to a room full of strangers, having that difficult conversation with that difficult person and motivating people to change.

Useful Gems From Body Language:

  • To feel at ease and increase rapport while networking, act as if you are the host of your own party (open smiles, body and gestures, survey the room like you own it.)
  • Don’t jump to conclusions based on one gesture or tone; interpret body language in clusters and context.
  • If the other person’s body is still and gestures are few, match their containment. You’ll have difficulty establishing rapport if you are bouncing off the walls.
  • Before interviews and leading groups: find a private mirror, smile, lift your head high, widen your stance and stretch your arms up and out. Think, Superwoman. Ideally hold this pose for two minutes to activate testosterone flow. Then shake out arms and legs and give yourself a big, genuine smile.
  • To raise your energy, openess and engagement, smile and lift the muscles at the corner of the eyes as well as the mouth to create a genuine welcoming expression. Bright eyes denote interest, soft eyes denote care. Aim for 65%-85% eye contact. Any more is just weird.

And to leave you with an interesting quote from George Bernard Shaw (p.193), “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” Body Language by Elizabeth Kuhnke is a book I’ll dip into often to help my clients become cool, calm and connected communicators.

© 2017 Geraldine Barkworth, Speaking Coach. Articles and reviews reflect the opinion of the author only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

 

Speaking Out: A 21 Century Handbook For Women And Girls, by Tara Moss

 Book Review By Speaking Coach Geraldine Barkworth

“Speaking Out” explains why we should care about only hearing the voice of half of humanity.  This book is written specifically to address the imbalance of men’s voices outnumbering women roughly 4 to 1 in society, especially in media, government and business sectors.
Speaking Out is divided into 3 practical parts: Why Speak Out, How To Speak Out and What To Expect When You Speak Out. Useful tips include public speaking, voice projection, golden writing rules, critical thinking and analysis and finding credible sources to back up your arguments. Plus thorough research and preparation skills to increase professionalism, credibility and confidence.
The author of Speaking Out Tara Moss, frequently speaks and writes on the rights of women and children. As anyone who dares to lift their head above the parapet, she’s been targeted by trolls and public nastiness. Tara provides detailed information on navigating social media, countering criticism, saying “no”, handling hecklers and difficult topics (especially personal issues you don’t wish discussed), telling your story safely and putting self care first to avoid burn out and ensure your voice continues to be heard.
Speaking Out is a practical how-to handbook filling a unique gap in the market on finding and using your authentic voice for the good of all. Whether they like it or not!
(c) 2017 Geraldine Barkworth, Authentic Speaking Coach. This review article is the opinion of the author only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au.

The Art Of Storytelling, by Nancy Mellon

Book Review By Speaking Coach Geraldine Barkworth

A good story engages listeners mind, body and spirit. Compare it with desert dry presentations of pie charts, bullet points and carefully cultivated poise and polish.

What’s missing is the uniquely human whimsy of imagination and creative self-expression. The storyteller’s powerful use of archetypes, metaphors, sound and movement mysteriously show us ourselves. It’s better and more real than Reality TV.

Nancy Mellon’s “The Art Of Story Telling” is rich with story after story, nibbling and coaxing your own ideas and creativity to speak and be heard. My husband bought this book at one of Nancy’s workshops (she was visiting Australia from the USA). He was thrilled with her skills in unfurling each character and then tucking them away as she returned to narration. Her easy control and confident releasing of control inspired him to engage all his senses and trust himself. He saw speaking in public and what you can do with it in an entirely new light. That workshop was for adults. All were gathered in a circle, breaths held for the next word.

Now imagine you are giving a presentation. Wouldn’t you love to have your listeners engaged, inspired and hanging on your every word? Even presenting Plastic Widgets and the implementation of Policy Reviews will be fascinating when you place your service, product or idea in the context of relevant, juicy storytelling.

Please learn how to do it and save us all from boring, polite presentations!

(There are a number of storytelling books from which you can learn. Nancy Mellon is a “psychotherapist who specialises in healing through the arts.” Here’s her website: http://www.healingstory.com/  And of course you can learn how to jazz up your boring presentation through creativity and story by working 1:1 with me: www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au )

(c) 2017 Geraldine Barkworth, public speaking coach. This review is the author’s opinion only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft By Stephen King

Book Review By Speaking Coach Geraldine Barkworth

We are a word-based society. Your ability to articulate your thoughts with clarity, precision and flair is an essential life skill.

If you are a public speaker, you will also be a writer. If you are a writer, judging by the number of authors I’ve worked with, you will also be a public speaker. Eventually. Those books won’t sell themselves.

My number one business activity is speaking and listening to clients. My number two is yes, you guessed it, writing. I always have a fat notepad by my side. I know many professionals have the same division of labour. When are we not composing emails, reports, articles and notes?

Recommended Reading

I decided to read and review “On Writing” because I’ve seen it referred to in so many Recommended Reading Lists for writers wanting to work on their craft. “On Writing” is entertaining and offers straightforward advice. And yes the author is the famous horror writer, Stephen King, so it’s filled with personal anecdotes and insights about his inner life as a writer.

One of the things I appreciated about “On Writing” was the author’s repeated acknowledgement of his love and gratitude for his wife for her support and honesty. It’s easy to get caught up with ourselves and forget the family and friends who keep us up upright on bad days. Stephen King describes the up and down reality of his life as a writer and it’s work, not glamour.

These 3 “On Writing” tips made me smile and change my wicked ways:

  1. Declutter! Everything irrelevant and redundant must go! At least 10% will be rubbish!
  2. If your message is meant to be engaging and energising, aim to write in active present tense, otherwise the slow slip into irrelevant boredom begins.
  3. Choose a physical writing location allowing you to be relaxed, focused and yourself. I set up a beautiful office, desk and client-seating and promptly avoided the place like the plague. I’m much happier and productive curled up on the lounge.

These 3 tips are also perfect for being a relaxed, confident presenter:

  1. Declutter!
  2. Be engaging and engergising by actively remaining in the present moment.
  3. Be yourself to do your best work.

There are many goodies within this book. I do have to stop myself from rewriting and cringing from everything I wrote previously. Ah well. Sounds like a ghastly speech I gave 5 years ago. “On Writing” is available on line, good bookstores and will likely be stocked at Writers Festivals.

(c) 2016, Geraldine Barkworth is an Australian public speaking coach who works with the psychology, physiology and sheer mystery behind public speaking fear. This review is the opinion of the author only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

 

The Confident Performer By Dr David Roland

Book Review By Speaking Coach Geraldine Barkworth

“I’m not fitted to give concerts. The audience intimidates me, I feel choked by its breath, paralysed by its curious glances, struck dumb by all those strange faces.” CHOPIN

“The Confident Performer” shares this stage fright quote from pianist Frederic Chopin and was the reason why I bought this highly focused little book. So many of my public-speaking clients sound just like Chopin, yet never go near a piano or even a stage.

The author, David Roland, is a performance psychologist. He uses this book to specifically teach mental preparation techniques for any kind of performance including dance, song, theatre, music and sport. The number one biggie for most people, stage fright, he covers particularly well. He includes two excellent scripts to build a habit of relaxation before performance (and life), both autogenic and progressive muscle relaxation.

I like these words from David Roland on page 80: “The very nature of performance requires the artist to expose himself publicly, which usually leads to the experience of stage fright – something every artist needs to manage. Being open to evaluation by an audience is something that does not occur in most other occupations.”

These two points ring true for people seeking confidence in public speaking. Fear of exposure and of being judged by others can be paralysing (or as Chopin said,”struck dumb”). And yet, without taking the risk of exposing one’s true self, there is only facade, a barrier between you and your audience. And they feel it. Listeners miss out on the real you, you miss out on them and everyone misses out on the magic.

You can lessen the risk of stage fright by tapping into the power of mental rehearsal. Psychophysiogical practise transforms fears and hopes into practical reality.

To end with Dr Roland’s quote from cellist Jacqueline du Pre: “Walking on stage – the recognition, the applause, the rumble of interest from the audience when I appeared. It never occurred to me to be nervous. I thought of the audience as a group of friends who had come to hear me play, and I found that very moving. I just played, and enjoyed it. Thinking about the notes would have spoiled the enjoyment. the work was all done beforehand.”

(David Roland has since recovered from stroke trauma and more about his brain-training work can be found on his website: http://davidroland.com.au/ )

(c) 2016, Geraldine Barkworth, authentic public speaking coach. This review is the opinion of the author only.  www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

The Highly Sensitive Person: How To Thrive When The World Overwhelms You by Elaine N. Aron

Book Review By Speaking Coach Geraldine Barkworth

When I read the back cover of this book I thought, “Aha! Maybe I’m not a neurotic weirdo who doesn’t fit in with the mainstream, maybe I’m just a highly sensitive person ! At last, an explanation for why I am as I am. Maybe if I read it I’ll learn how to be ”normal” like everyone else.

Mmm, maybe not. The author reframes high sensitivity as a positive and valuable attribute, one that is somewhat maligned and unrecognized in today’s extroverted, fast paced, noisy go go go western world. Go? Go where? Who cares? Let’s just go! The relentlessness and pointlessness of it all just wears me out and it turns out, it also wears out the 15-20% of the population who share this genetic feature of high sensitivity.

Notice I said “western” world? In the east, sensitivity and shyness are prized as a sign of intelligence and value. Notice I said “20% of the population”? Fascinatingly, 1 in 5 of the animal world populations are also hard wired for high sensitivity. It ain’t just a human quirk of our current narcissistic obsession with ourselves forever searching for why we are so special.

And I guess in that last rather poisonous sentence I wrote, is the root of why I felt uncomfortable reading this book and struggled with writing this review.

I like thinking I’m different and special. It’s always defined part of who I am. Even the general sense of rejection and weirdness has shaped me and I’ve turned it into something useful. You think I’d be thrilled to read an explanation that justifies why I’m so blooming sensitive. I know very well what a curse and a blessing I possess. Why I see, feel, hear, think and overwhelm so much. I remember waxing lyrical as a child about why I disliked the letter “K” so much and seeing the blank incomprehension on faces around me. I get ridiculously excited about colours, am deeply in love with fuschia cherry pink and can pick out every ingredient in a recipe by taste. I have wild flights of imagination that cause me to rise and rise… and fall. Sometimes, it’s a long way down.

What I gained from this book is a sense of permission to embrace my sensitivity, yes, revel in it. I no longer need to develop a stomach ache to avoid going to a party. I can just say, “God no! A party. How revolting. I’d rather make a cup of tea and create a flower arrangement for every room.”

I also liked these words from Elaine Aron on page 218 which seem like a good framework for psychologically healthy travel through life: “The pursuit of wholeness is really a kind of circling closer and closer through different meanings, different voices. One never arrives, yet gets a better and better idea of that which is at the centre. But if we circle, there is little chance for arrogance because we are passing through every sort of experience of ourselves. This is the pursuit of wholeness, not perfection and wholeness must by definition include the imperfect.”

What I don’t like about this book is the author’s suggestion that highly sensitives are developed from the “Priestly Advisor class”, those who wisely advised the “Warrior Kings” who ruled for millennia in numerous cultures. Presumably, every one else is an insensitive pleb. I feel this rather romantic suggestion cruels the credibility and strengths of this well researched science-based book. Mind you, as I write this, I’m thinking, mmm, “Who am I to stop someone exploring their ideas?” I don’t know. I just didn’t like it. You may love it.

High sensitivity in any population is a very useful survival attribute. Kind of like the canary down the mine. They are sensitive to dangers that miners don’t perceive until it’s too late. The highly sensitive person is the one who notices changes in patterns, in vocal tones, in levels of movement. They notice subtle differences and bring them to the attention of those who don’t. Depending on the kind of culture you are born into, if you are highly sensitive your skills are either valued or dismissed. And you may go through your life with a strong sense of value or a strong sense of valueless-ness.

If you’d like to learn more about your sensitivity (or lack of it!!!) and how to use it to your advantage, read the book or visit the instantly gratifying website for the highly sensitive person. Take the Sensitivity Test. It makes things very clear in about 2 minutes: http://hsperson.com/

(c) 2016, Geraldine Barkworth is an Australian public speaking coach who works with the psychology and physiology behind public speaking fear. This review is the opinion of the author only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au