Books: Three of a kind - Public speaking and presentations

LEND ME YOUR EARS; Max Atkinson; Vermilion; £9.99

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Last Updated: 05 Jul 2011

The most important thing about this book is the author. Professor Max Atkinson is the man who trained a novice speaker to speak at the 1984 SDP conference. She went on to get the only standing ovation of the event. This excellent book covers the perils of PowerPoint presentations, the power of rhetoric and how to prepare speeches when in a rush. It's clear, reassuring and useful. (Best of its kind.)

PEAK PERFORMANCE PRESENTATIONS; Richard Olivier & Nicholas Janni; Spiro; £14.99

This book claims to present lessons for business from the world of theatre. The authors have both worked in theatre (and yes, Richard Olivier is the son of Laurence). It's a fascinating read, with voice exercises, relaxation techniques and encouragement to visualise first your inner critic and then your inner coach. It's a good guide for those who want to inject passion into their performance. (Best of its kind.)

VOICES OF EXPERIENCE; Jacqui Harper; How To Books; £12.99

Instead of offering her own advice, Harper has interviewed 'a mix of outstanding presenters' to share their tips on presentational speaking. So we have Nicola Horlick next to Gary Lineker, and entrepreneurs alongside journalists. It's an interesting book in its way, and there are some good tips, but it lacks the thoroughness of the other two books, and ultimately is slightly unsatisfying. (Of minor interest.)

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