Novmeber 2009

Speak Up: An Illustrated Guide to Public Speaking

Bedford St. Martins

  • 75 Arlington Street
  • Boston , MA

(617) 399-4000

This entertaining, informative, and humorously-illustrated book is a perfect introduction to public speaking. Textbooks can be so boring but this one is hard to put down! Students of all ages can appreciate the informal tone of the writing, and the hilarious examples used. The illustrations especially help to convey the concepts that are presented. Peter Arkle’s recognizable illustrations and cartoons have been used by abc Time Out New York xyz , Nike, abc Nylon Magazine xyz , and Colette, the famous boutique in Paris.

As a librarian, I particularly appreciate the section on “Researching Your Speech” because it contains some key components of information literacy, including determining your research needs, evaluating your sources' credibility, and using a broad range of sources.

There’s a chapter devoted to Special-Occasion speaking as well. If you need to make a wedding toast, give a eulogy, or speak at a graduation, there are general guidelines, which include:

  • Appeal to your audience’s emotions
  • Match your delivery to the mood of the occasion
  • Adapt to your audience’s expectations about what should be said and how
  • Evoke shared values, e.g. compassion, justice, service
  • Respect time constraints

abc Speak Up! xyz has a companion web site, which contains Student Resources such as speech topic ideas, dozens of helpful web links, and even a relaxation audio download, for nervous speakers. This book and the web site will take all the guesswork and even terror out of speech giving. I cannot recommend it highly enough!

Reviewer: Kirstie Harless, FIDM Library Staff Member, S.F.