Author of ‘The Speaker’s Coach: 60 secrets to make your talk, speech or presentation amazing’
Graham is a speaker and speaker coach, best known for his ability to convey ideas with a sketch. His talk at TEDx Hull has been viewed by 37 million people and he has appeared on television and radio.
His book, ‘The Art of Business Communication’ was shortlisted for the Chartered Management Institute’s Management Book of the Year 2016.
His latest book ‘The Speaker’s Coach’ won a Highly Commended award in the Business Book Awards 2020. It was listed in CEO Magazine’s ‘Ten Most Inspirational Business Books for 2020.’
He has collaborated with many major international companies.
1. What problem were you trying to solve with the book?
Many people fear public speaking; therefore I wrote the book to help such people overcome the typical problems they encounter. These include issues such as anxiety, overwhelm, or trying to organise a lot of information into a logical sequence. Frequent concerns include nervousness, where to look, what to do with your hands and how to handle awkward questions. I wanted to help the reader with such issues and make the process of delivering a talk much easier. My aim is that after reading the book, the reader will feel confident that that they can give a successful talk.
2. What surprised you most about writing the book?
I was surprised just how many public speaking tips there are when I really thought about it. It reminded me how many things make a difference to the result when planning and presenting a talk. It was like the idea of ‘marginal gains’ in sport, where even small things an athlete does can make a huge difference to their performance. This presented a challenge as to what to include in my book. I tried to include all techniques that have the most impact and give the speaker the very best chance of performing well.
3. What will the reader learn?
The reader will learn numerous secrets of giving great talks. The techniques can be applied to any kind of talk such as in business, education, or social occasions. Tips include mental preparation, how to prepare a talk in six steps, rules to create memorable slides, how to grab attention in the first 30 seconds, how to use humour, how to add sparkle and drama, how to rehearse, how to convey authority and confidence, how to get an idea across with a sketch and much more.
4. What does this look like in practice?
The book is in three parts: 1. Preparing 2. Practising and 3. Performing. The book can be read from start to finish, or the reader can dip in and out. Each of the 60 secrets has the same format to make it easy to follow. There is a cartoon picture in each secret which makes it easy to remember. Each secret has a ‘What to do’ list and a ‘Your turn’ activity to help the reader apply the tips. ‘Resources for further learning’ are listed for each secret, pointing the reader to TED talks, other videos, books, and articles.
5. How did you come to the view you describe in the book?
This book is the result of many years in the field of professional speaking and speaker coaching. I have learnt these techniques mostly by observing other speakers, by attending training and by reading. I have learnt that there are many styles of public speaking, just as in great sports men and women have different styles and idiosyncrasies. However in any endeavour, there are certain core principles and techniques that just work, and so it is with public speaking. Such principles and techniques and worth learning, and I have therefore included numerous examples of these in my book.
Conclusion – final thoughts
Chris Anderson the Head of TED, the organisation that has placed numerous videos of fantastic talks online, summed up this book as follows:
“There is no single set formula for giving a great talk. However, in this book you will find compelling insights and practical guidance to help you discover the way that’s right for you.”
Books by Graham Shaw
‘The Speaker’s Coach’ – 60 secrets to make your talk, speech, or presentation amazing
‘The Art of Business Communication’ – How to use pictures, charts, and graphics to make your ideas stick!
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