“I am convinced that when you SPEAK from the HEART you give yourself over to a higher power. The churchmen of my childhood wired themselves into this power each time they were called upon to read passage, pray and perform ceremony. The net result was an emotional, compelling and authentic service.”

~ SPEAK from the HEART

I absolutely loved and heartily recommend Bobby Livingston’s book, entitled  SPEAK from the Heart: How to Master the Art of Public Speaking in 7 Easy Lessons.

He advocates a simple yet powerful approach to public speaking; namely speaking from the heart.

Bobby’s obvious passion for public speaking comes through in his writing. What I found great about his book, is how he builds up the art of public speaking by giving examples of people who found it difficult to speak publicly, and whose performances were completely transformed when they spoke from the heart, such as Sir Winston Churchill.

Bobby through his writing enables you to believe that you are also capable of such amazing feats.

The book is split into easy to read lessons of which there are 7 in total. Each has its own objectives, then the actual content of the lesson, and then a challenge at the end.

The challenges throughout the book are excellent, which guide you step-by-step to help you prepare yourself for giving a speech and then actually delivering it. Each challenge helps to increase your confidence in public speaking. What Bobby does at the end of each challenge is to ask you question, so you can really reflect on your performance.

What I appreciate about the book, is that Bobby really emphasises how public speaking is a creative art and not just about getting up to speak, and how doing so creates a strong energy between you and the audience!

He talks about the importance of removing those bad habits that we all get into, and get rid of the “ums”, “ers”, “ahs”, “you know”. We’re all guilty of them, but saying them certainly does not help giving an elegant and fluent speech!

He discusses about speaking correctly grammatically, and how to slow down your speech and really enunciating your words for dramatic impact.

Bobby explains how you can increase your confidence by using words that convey conviction, belief, passion, and purpose. This creates a positive “energy thread” and the more positive you begin to feel the stronger and stronger your message becomes.

Bobby includes a sample speech, which you can use to do the challenges throughout the book.

Another brilliant challenge in the book is speaking, recording yourself and then listening for the areas where you can make improvements.

“So how do you improve this situation? Importantly, you first need to recognise you punctuate your speech this way. Listen back to a recording of yourself and take note.”

~ SPEAK from the HEART

Who isn’t mesmerised by an inspiring speaker? With such a person, who wouldn’t to hear them speak?

Bobby explains in useful chunks how you can achieve this, through developing the skills of an actor to then bring into your speech, such working on your emotions, and demonstrating these to go with the changes in your speech.

He shows ways of accessing moods and becoming aware of them by listening to classical music. For instance, if the music is conveying sad and angry moods, then as you’re sensing these particular emotions, say words that come out of your mouth.

The book also effectively explains how to use the power of eye contact, gestures and body movements, and expertly teaches how to use these when giving a speech, to support and express further what you’re saying.

One approach I liked in particular was practicing responding to the different sounds in a piece of music such as tension and intuition. He explains how our gestures become visual images, which are then, are appealing to our audiences. However, he also explains how not to use body language and what could be considered to be off-putting to the audience.

“Eye contact is exactly the same. In my professional opinion it is extremely powerful. A fleeting gaze can be inclusive, personal or confrontational. It adds impact, force and purpose. If you had a head teacher at your primary school like I did you will know exactly what I mean.”

~ SPEAK from the HEART

He teaches about posture and what makes an honest approachable stance and what makes a fearful one. He describes the importance of appearance and hair when speaking and how to achieve the appropriate effect depending on the type of audience you are speaking too.

A great section is how to make your voice more powerful through making changes in volume, and tempo to ensure you are heard and the words you say sound interesting. Modulation is also explained as varying tones and pitches can add warmth, sincerity and passion to our speeches.

He teaches good techniques on how to write a captivating speech, and explains the key components that make up such a speech along with what needs to go in each part, so your speech has a seamless flow.

Other aspects covered are how to develop understanding with your audience, so that you gain trust with them and are able to create momentum and gain commitment from them. This is particularly important if you are giving a speech in a sales context for instance.

The book ends with a great exercise on evaluating professional speakers and Bobby has included an evaluation guide to help you do this. And then there is an exercise on evaluating yourself!

SPEAK from the HEART is easily the best text I’ve read on public speaking. I would like to congratulate Bobby Livingston on his quite brilliant book.

You can order the book from Amazon.

Please note: I have no affiliate connections with this book.

Have you had experiences with public speaking? Or have you thought about giving it try? Please leave a comment and share your experiences and thoughts on this fascinating subject.