10 Books Every Keynote Speaker Should Read

I am looking below to being back on the speaking circuit. I’ve had the opportunity to go through some of the books that have helped shape my style and messages during the season of preparation.

I also notice a growing number of consultants and entrepreneurs who have started to focus on virtual speech rather than attending live events. Many of these individuals have decided that traveling and overnight stays are more convenient than attending in-person events. My network has seen a rise in virtual speaking, which has made it easier for entrepreneurs and leaders to offer professional speaking.

Many people ask me what books I recommend for those who want to be public speakers or established keynote speakers. Below are the ten books I always recommend to people looking to improve their speaking abilities.

1. The Referable speaker: Your Guide for Building a Sustainable Speaking career — No Fame by Andrew Davis & Michael Port

According to Davis and Port, the fundamental transformation of becoming a great public speaker does not come down to the number and quality of social media likes or the development of applause lines, nor the number and quality of paid bookings. You are the first and most significant transformation. Davis and Port are not interested in success strategies and instead focus on retooling the brain. This is how Davis and Port hope to help well-respected speaking voices rise to new heights and become more referable.

2. Founded Standing Up – A Comic’s Life / Steve Martin

This isn’t meant to be a comedy masterpiece full of laugh-out-loud lines. This is a memoir. But it’s also a fascinating journey into the mind of a master broadcaster. Steve Martin shows how he created a standup comedy show that stood out in an age that sought something new. He also helps to explain why, at the peak of his success, he decided to take the permanent and challenging decision to quit.

3. Don’t Take Yes for an Answer – How to Use Authority and Warmth to Get Exceptional Results, Steve Herz.

It sounds like the title is written specifically for salespeople. It’s not. Herz doesn’t concentrate on professional speaking. However, he focuses on improving the three essential qualities that make professionals more sought-after: authority, warmth, and energy. Herz does not shy away from sharing his failures, but he also encourages readers to take small steps to make a difference. This book is a masterclass in soft skills and hard feedback that all speakers must learn.

4. Discover Your Red Thread Make Your Big Ideas Remarkable by Tamsen Webster

Tamsen Webster is a professional who has dedicated her life to helping people realize their dreams. This may be her most successful effort. Webster’s model identifies your “red string” as the vital link between the great idea in your head and the hearts and minds that others have. The idea isn’t to create something artificial; it’s to find individual authenticity and improve communication. Webster’s ability as a concise writer makes it short. This book will be a great resource that you can keep handy and gift to others.

5. A Coaching Habit Say Less and Ask More to Change Your Life Forever By Michael Bungay Maintainer

Managers and leaders often underestimate the value of well-formulated questions. They are also less curious than they should, according to the author. These are two common characteristics that hinder leaders from connecting with others and using fact-finding missions to help them think more deeply before handing down the C-suite fiats. Followers of Stainer’s methods make better decisions and inspire loyalty.

6. Get the Show – From Speeches to Job Interviews and Deal-Closing Pitches to Speeches, How to Guarantee an Outstanding Ovation for All Performances in Your Life By Michael Port

Professional speakers often view “showtime” as when they move towards a lectern and take their place on stage. Port encourages readers, despite this being true, to think more profoundly about everyday speech and apply proven techniques to it all. Port’s methods will help you communicate clearly, regardless of whether you are more introverted or naturally gregarious. “Stealing The Show” can be done indoors or at home.

7. Consider Again by Adam Grant

Adam Grant doesn’t want you to think more deeply about what you already know. He encourages you to question what you believe you do to discover new ideas. Being open to new ideas is difficult in an age of chaos and counter-narratives. Grant helps readers identify the fundamental assumptions behind “settled” pictures, so each can then be evaluated.

8. Every tool’s a ham, Adam Savage.

Savage is a former co-host on Mythbusters, The Discovery Channel’s program that explains how things work. This book about creativity shows that there’s more to invention than raw materials and tools. The truth is that true creativity requires the whole person to embark on an adventure.

9. Made To Stick Why Some Ideas Survive, and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

What is the secret to making an idea stick? This is not about the truth or merit of what’s being stated. It’s not uncommon for public speakers to be able to make an impression. However, attendees may struggle to remember what the main point of an event was two days later. Chip and Dan Heath offer valuable insights for communication and education professionals.

10. Everybody writes Ann Handley: The Ultimate Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content.

Writing well and speaking well have always been my strengths. It is crucial to communicate ideas clearly and accurately. Handley’s advice can help anyone improve their ability to choose and use the right words for the right place. This skill is essential in today’s world of character and word counts on social media platforms.

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Samatha Vale
Samatha a senior writer for HC's entertainment team. She is an entreprenuer, mother and an excellent writer. She's also an avid reader, music enthusiast and all around inquisitive person - which is just a nice way of saying she's nosy.

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