on 12 November 2001
Finally - a public speaking book that really helps you to give a persuasive speech. Most of the other books I've read on the subject get obsessed with pompous formalities, or contain transparent boasts like "my friend the Archbishop of Canterbury", but this one is really different. The guys who wrote it clearly know how to teach as well as how to speak effectively. And they can write well too: their analysis of language in politics is really original and interesting, and some of their jokes had me laughing out loud. Not only is "The Oxford Union Guide" a very handy book, it's a good read too.
on 17 November 2002
Planning this review ideas are flashing across my consciousness. Not insights from this book, though it provides many, but arguments and actions for a speech I am making shortly. Thankfully I'm filing them - building up a hoard of material, which should make writing the speech much less painful. It's one of many lessons learned from 'Successful Public Speaking'.
Hughes and Phillips start with you. As long as you have something worth saying and time to collect your material and think how best to frame and present it you are going to be OK. It is a reassuring message, particularly because they convey it in the first few pages and demonstrate it in less than a hundred.
Page after page of common sense eloquently supported by examples from a cast of great speechmakers and anecdotes from the authors, champion debaters themselves, this book practices what it preaches.
Like a good speech 'Successful Public Speaking' is exceptionally well organised, limited in its objectives, and persuasive. Following on from you, the speaker, Hughes and Phillips focus on the audience. Getting them to agree is the key, they say, not showing off. The greatest speakers appeal to the experiences of their audience who are participating, not listening: nodding in agreement, murmuring approval, clapping and cheering.
But I didn't buy this book to lead a revolution. Because Hughes and Phillips eschew formulas, techniques and stock-jokes and focus instead on helping the speaker communicate, their guidance belongs as much in the boardroom as it does in the classroom, party convention or pub. In the final third of the book the authors give specific advice for business meetings, television and weddings but the job is pretty much done by then.
This audience of one nodded in agreement all the way through 'Successful Public Speaking'. Holmes and Phillips have persuaded me I can make a good speech.
on 28 February 2001
This book goes into clear and concise detail on what makes a good speech and how to deliver it. Has good examples of great speeches in history and uses plenty of examples covering a range of topics and most importantly, good breakdown analysis. Well worth a read, even if you only have to make one speech in your whole life.
on 18 July 2000
I have been a pretty competent public speaker for some time, in both my work (an international charity) and at private occasions. So I read this book more out of interest in their opinions than expecting to learn much. But the way the authors break down the various techniques has really helped me prepare properly for each separate occasion, leaving a lot less to chance. Reading their breakdown of the speeches they choose to analyse is both instructive and enjoyable. I'd like to see these two in action!
on 30 May 2000
This book Is brilliant! Thoroughly enjoyable, helpful and interesting, it steered me through the techniques used by successful speakers with impressive clarity. A credible analysis of the pitfalls and also of the excitements of public speaking. Having read The Oxford Union Guide to Successful Public Speaking, I gave a half-hour business presentation to a panel of five academics, and felt thoroughly in control of the process. Thank you, Dominic Hughes and Benedict Phillips.
on 21 November 2011
I have never written a review before but felt I had to for this. I've not quite finished it yet, but this has been by far the best guide I've ever come across. The authors really do know their stuff, and cover an awful lot of ground, all the while keeping it humorous, informative and interesting. Not easy with such a well covered and potentialy dull subject. The parts on phrasing, context and the use of language are worth the price alone. This should help steer you through the many pitfalls that can await you if you are unprepared. Lets face it we have all sat through the presentions from hell, from monotone recitals, to death by Powerpoint. I would thoroughly recommend this for anyone who lectures, presents or pitches anything, especially if you think you are already pretty good at public speaking. You won't regret it.
on 28 May 2000
Well written and eminently readable, this book should find a place on any speaker's shelf. Catering to both the novice speaker and advanced practitioner of the art, the Guide is filled with information nuggets and words of wisdom. Highlights include a chapter discussing and analysing some great speeches in history, and a well-compiled list of references for further reading.
This book is excellently complemented by Pros and Cons, another book written by former world-class debaters.