Say What?!?

On May 11, I had the pleasure of presenting at the South Central Chapter of the Pennsylvania Library Association.  My topic was on how to be a better public speaker.  Public speaking is not something that most people enjoy doing; in fact, it often appears in the top ten of lists of fears and phobias. ‘Fear of Public Speaking’ is just one of several workplace fears or phobias that could affect your overall job performance. My philosophy has always been one where I would prefer to be in control of a fear, rather than let a fear control me. It is tough being a good public speaker, but as with any performance activity, recognizing that angst and practicing a lot are two things that will certainly help.

Below is the PowerPoint I used in my presentation, followed by a few resources that I have found to be particularly useful.



Of course I am going to offer some books to read!  There are a ton of books that deal with Public Speaking, but these two are ones that I consider essential reading.  Feel free to share others that may have helped you.

How To Develop Self-Confidence And Influence People by Public Speaking by Dale Carnegie

The Confident Speaker: Beat Your Nerves and Communicate at Your Best in Any Situation by Harrison Monarth and Larina Kase

Online Resources!

Toastmasters International:

No organization has improved public speaking as much as Toastmasters International! This tried and true method has improved the speaking and leadership skills of millions. There are 174 clubs in Pennsylvania alone!

The Power of Introverts:

Statistically, many librarians tend to be more introverted, so this website is especially geared to that characteristic.  I am more of an extrovert, but I have learned a lot from Susan’s blog and now have her book on my reading list as well! Susan Cain offers great tips on public speaking and has committed herself to “becoming the best and bravest speaker” she can be, which she is calling her ‘Year of Speaking Dangerously’.  Imagine if we all embarked on such a mission!

Dale Carnegie Blog:

You can’t go wrong with Dale Carnegie.  I recommend several of his books actually; they are timeless classics, such as How to Win Friends and Influence People.  The blog continues his legacy by offering great tips and advice, not only on public speaking, but on a variety of other topics as well.  Here’s a link to a The Art of Public Speaking, available as a free ebook.

Gettysburg Powerpoint Presentation:

I talk a lot about content and confidence and delivery and even though I use PowerPoint, I don’t rely on it, or at least I try not to.  This is a great example of what a difference using PowerPoint can make in a great presentation 🙂

Learn from Others / Be Inspired

TED: Ideas Worth Spreading:

This is one of my all time favorite websites.  And now you can do your own local TED–great public speaking opportunity!

Big Think:

Big Think calls itself a Knowledge Forum.  They say what they do better than I can:  “we aim to help you move above and beyond random information, toward real knowledge, offering big ideas from fields outside your own that you can apply toward the questions and challenges in your own life.”


99% is about making ideas happen.  This site has a whole video section where you can browse by category.

That should certainly be enough to keep you busy for a while.  Just remember, reading all about it isn’t the same as doing it, so get out there and speak!

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