This book can help you become a great communicator, whether you are talking to prospects, team members, friends, or even your children.

“With few exceptions, human beings overcome their challenges through communication,” says author Richard Zeoli.

Effective communication is not only our greatest asset to improve our lives, grow our businesses, enhance our relationships or change our world; it can also be one of the most fulfilling experiences humans will ever enjoy.

Unlike most public speaking manuals filled with how-to tricks of the trade, such as articulating clearly, making eye contact and “imagining your audience in their underwear,” Zeoli captures the essence of a principle-based approach to communication, covering seven basic principles that apply whether you are making a one-on-one presentation or addressing a full auditorium.

The first principle is Perception: Stop Trying to Be a Great Speaker. To master the art of public speaking, be yourself—and learn how to speak like yourself. Anyone who can carry on a relaxed conversation with one or two people can give a speech, since both are about making an authentic connection. In order to be relaxed and confident, make sure to be prepared and know your audience.

The second principle is Perfection: When You Make a Mistake, No One Cares But You. Most people get nervous before they give a speech. The important thing is not to focus on everything that could go wrong. Your audience is rooting for you and wants you to succeed. An effective communicator doesn’t need to be perfect. This chapter also covers tone, pitch, eye contact and the dramatic pause.

The third principle is Visualization: If You Can See It, You Can Speak It. Achieve confidence by convincing your brain that standing in front of a group of people and speaking is as familiar as brushing your teeth. To do this, use the power of visualization. Doing visualization exercises will help you lose your fear of public speaking, because the mind begins to believe what it sees—you speaking comfortably in front of a group of people.

The fourth principle is Discipline: Practice Makes Perfect Good; the fifth principle is Description: Make It Personal and Be a Storyteller; the sixth is Inspiration: Speak to Serve; and the seventh is Anticipation: Always Leave Your Audience Wanting More.

This well written and fun-to-read guide to public speaking will help you hone your skills, regardless of your level of experience. Combining personal stories, step-by-step instructions and worksheets, Zeoli demystifies the art of public speaking and helps us realize that we all have the capacity to be powerful communicators.

If you want to change your idea of public speaking from a stomach-clenching experience to be struggled through, to an opportunity to relish and a chance to shine in front of a group, this book will help you find your voice and speak to win.

Paperback, 215 pages, $14.95;
Skyhorse Publishing Inc., 2008