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on 24 September 2011
I found this book easy to read, fun, and packed with all sorts of useful tips and strategies to make your public speaking shine. What I love about this book is that it's not about 'faking it' as a speaker - the author encourages you to be yourself on stage and to let your passion for your subject show. Definitely my preferred approach to speaking.

A quick summary of each part:

Awareness - The first part starts with what you might consider the basics - how body language and vocal delivery affect your speaking. The angle here is that by becoming more aware of what your body and voice do whilst you're speaking, you can choose to act in a more powerful way.

Empathy - looking at how you build rapport with your audience and understand their needs. I particularly liked the bit about different audience types you might come across and how to handle them (I've definitely seen a sniper or two!)

Freshness - how to add interest to what you say to make it more memorable. This is a useful checklist of all of the ways you might use visual aids, the words you say and interactive techniques to wow your audience.

Balance - how to create a decent structure in your speaking that people can make sense of - and that has some power behind it.

Fearlessness- this is my favourite part - it looks at how we become nervous about public speaking and what to do to overcome the fear. It's packed with some really useful tools which I'll definitely try out on my next bit of speaking.

Authenticity - another favourite bit of mine, this section shows you how you don't have to pretend to be someone else to be a great public speaker.

All in all, a really handy read. The illustrations make it a very friendly and approachable book - it's a good one to dip in and out of when you need a refresher.
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on 24 September 2011
Having done one of the author's workshops, I was eager to get something that I could use to continue to practice at home. I can say I was not disappointed!
Sarah's workshop was fun and engaging, and she managed to take this style over into the book.
Public speaking can be a daunting prospect, and even reading a whole book on the subject can seem like a big ask. What's nice about How To Be Brilliant is that each chapter is split up into bite-size sections, sprinkled with quotes and home-grown illustrations, which often use the author's fairly apparent fetish for cake.

Even the best advice is not much use if you can't relate to it and recall it when you need it. Each topic in the book is nicely tied together using the metaphor of the House of Public Speaking, which makes it easy to remember. And the hundreds of examples and real-life stories mean that the principles never become abstract.

I have to give public talks every few weeks, and the examples and methods I learned from the book really helped me to be more confident and engaging as a speaker.
The one thing that sums up the book for me is the roof of the House of Public Speaking, Authenticity - in the end, getting through all the nerves and using the techniques is just to bring out your own true voice.
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on 3 October 2011
Within minutes of reading this book I felt bits of my brain untangle themselves - those bits that had got themselves in knots from an early age associating speach-giving with something close to a near-death experience.

Sarah's style of writing is relaxed, fresh and humourous. I could feel her voice speaking through the words on the page with an enthusiasm and groundedness that made me just want to keep on reading. She pretty much covers every aspect of public speaking with an ease which is contagious and reassuring. The illustrations reinforce the key points in a light-hearted and memorable way that also serve to unravel decades of taking the subject far too seriously.

This is a book I would have loved to have had as a teenager - infact would have loved everyone I know to have had because it does so much more than guide you to be a good public speaker - it supports you in valuing and expressing your authentic nature which would benefit all aspects of your life immeasurably.

Buy it for yourself. Buy it for everyone you know for Christmas - why not?
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on 24 September 2011
I was really impressed by the way Sarah put across her personality and humour into this book, as this helped me to over come some confidence issues with talking in public and stop taking myself so seriously. She makes it fun and I feel happier about being in situations where I am put on the spot. This book will make a big difference to anyone who feels under pressure when speaking in public. I really recommend this book.
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on 30 September 2011
This book inspired me and I think it is a great tool for rookies and people who have to speak in public on a regular basis. I had many eye openers and WOW moments relating to where and how to improve my own speaking skills. Especially to learn more about awareness helped me a lot.

Furthermore Sarah not only provides a huge source a profound knowledge, she also manages to present it in a way that makes it easy to read and to digest.

Reading the book almost felt like listening to an authentic, emphatic & fun speech and truly seemed to come from the heart.
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on 10 October 2011
Some things seem simple when you can do them - public speaking is one such thing - but what about if your focus is potential negative consequences, trying to be perfect, worried you may look and sound stupid etc. If the above mentioned seem familiar then this will not only get you out of trouble - it will also get you speaking fluently, passionately, coming across as an accomplished speaker because the info in this book works. As a public speaker, toastmaster and presenter I love this book. The way it is presented is brilliant - the book is called "How to be Brilliant at..." so maybe that is to be expected.

Simple tips like learning how to be comfortable with silence. Engage people through thought provoking questions and It even has a lovely, easy to follow section on PowerPoint. And anyone who has ever used PowerPoint will know anything that can go wrong will go wrong and you may just have to speak, speak and speak some more.

Well done Sarah for putting the info in such a lovely, enjoyable read. Worth giving as a present to anyone who needs a little help with their presentation skills as this book covers so much more than just public speaking.
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on 25 September 2011
This is a very useful and practical guide for anybody who speaks in public and very accessible. Clearly explained insights and a pleasure to read.
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on 13 October 2011
When I bought this book I didn't know quite what to expect, but I was blown away by the quality and depth of the information inside. The book is organised really well, so you can work out quickly how you'd like to use the book - read the whole thing or focus on specific points. It's packed with solid how-tos and lots of tips and you can read it in bite-size chunks if you want to. It's also great fun, with lots of diagrams to help your right brain engage with the content and amusing names to help you remember, for instance, the types of audience you might encounter: The Hotshot, The Snowman and The Black Cloud are a few of my favourites!

Personally, when I bought the book I was writing a script for a short video on my website. I found Sarah's instructions really helped me get clear on what I wanted to say and how I wanted to deliver it, even though my audience was virtual. It also inspired me to actually get on with it - thanks Sarah! And it made me want to go and see Sarah speak herself - she'd be a great role model.

So, if you're looking for a fun, practical and uplifting guide to any kind of presentation you're doing not just public speaking - it could help you liven up a powerpoint too!), then I'd recommend this book.
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on 26 September 2011
This is a really good introduction to public speaking, and it doesn't involve making yourself into someone you're not. Shows you how to be an authentically powerful speaker who can command the room yet keep the stillness within - a rare combination. Liked Sarah's Buddhist approach - a calm mind and sense of purpose is obviously important to this area.
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on 5 February 2014
“How to Be Brilliant at Public Speaking: Any audience. Any situation.” written by Sarah Lloyd-Hughes is a nicely illustrated and approachable book that shows that not every public appearance has to be shocking event that we fear about. Despite what they teach us that speakers are naturally born, the author manages to show we can influence many our skills and things we do in front of the audience, in order to improve our oratory skills.

Sarah Lloyd-Hughes book is easy to read and it’s full of examples of real life situations that will help you future planning and delivering of public presentations. The author specifically focuses on six main areas that are required to present your speech with style, confidence and charm, and these are awareness, empathy, authenticity, fearlessness, balance and freshness.

The author begins her story with part that discusses our body language that is the main way that people are noticing us; the author is suggesting how to influence your voice and body that will result in your presentation to be more believable and powerful. Additionally, speaker has to understand that different types of audience have different needs and in order to satisfy them, the presenter has to understand audience, get to know them.

The speaker has to be authentic, there is no need to pretend being someone else; otherwise you will probably achieve exactly the opposite effect, and the audience will not believe you (any more). To be a bit afraid is ok, but of course is not good to go out in front of an audience and die of fear; the author shows some good techniques how to overcome your unpleasant feelings when you are speaking in front of the people.

The presentation should be balanced, have structure in order for audience not to feel lost and to be able to understand what you're saying, because no one wants to feel foolish, especially not in the company of a lot of people. And in the end, your presentation needs to be up-to-date, look and feel fresh, like made today or yesterday because no one wants to hear old news. Lloyd-Hughes suggests using of visual and interactive techniques that will help you to grab and keep the attention of your audience.

Overall, Sarah Lloyd-Hughes with her book managed to show that speaking in public can be fun if we take care of some easy-to-be-influenced elements, her book being fun and easy to read. Therefore if you are looking for help in building your confidence and overcoming your fears or you are just looking for some techniques that will help you to improve your performance “How to Be Brilliant at Public Speaking” will be good read for you.
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