Book Review: You Were Born To Speak, by Richard Newman

Great public speakers communicate with their audience using a combination of words, verbal delivery, and body language. But reaching that level of effectiveness isn’t easy, especially for the naturally shy and introverted.

In Richard Newman’s fascinating new book, You Were Born To Speak, the award-winning author and body language expert explains how each of us can tap into our innate natural talent for communication and overcome the fears and self-doubt that plague most professionals before an important pitch or presentation.

Newman, a former professional actor, compares speaking at business events to his experiences at acting school: “If you’re an actor then your job is all about subtext. You can’t change the words, but you can change what they mean and how people react to them. In business the subtext of your message can be lost in emails, phone calls or poker-face meetings. I have been to many conferences where a speaker has opened with ‘I’m delighted to be here today’, while looking and sounding as though he were at a funeral.”

The ability to effectively engage an audience is clearly critical in almost all aspects of business. It can influence potential bosses, impress investors and convince new clients. But almost all of the how-to books I’ve seen on the subject – and there are many – are “cheerleading titles”: lots of wow but lacking substance. Newman’s book, on the other hand, is different in that it critically examines = the science behind how and why specific ways of communication have an effect (be it negative or positive). Using examples from his own life and by citing the body language of public figures, it also offers readers practical, invaluable advice about how to stand, how to breathe, and how to stay calm and cool under pressure.

Newman himself is no armchair professional; he’s widely considered to be on the world’s leading experts on communication skills and body language and is described by Di Macdonald, former head of learning at Expedia, Apple and L’Oreal, as a “Rock star of communication”. In short, his words count. He has worked in the field for more than 20 years and has helped countless corporations to improve their performance through improved sales pitches, presentations and overall personal impact. His own journey has an unlikely beginning – as a shy teenager, he stepped out of his comfort zone to spend six months living with Tibetan monks in the Himalayas, teaching English as a foreign language. With the monks speaking no English when he arrived, he developed strong body language and voice tone skills to communicate. And so an obsession to communicate clearly with confidence was born.

You Were Born To Speak is a brilliant guidebook and will no doubt rank alongside Quiet – the Power of Introverts in a World that Won’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain as a must-read for anyone who wants to make themselves heard.

You Were Born To Speak will be published on Friday, December 7th, 2018, priced £14.99, and is available for pre-order now from Amazon UK. If you pre-order You Were Born To Speak from the book launch website – then you can attend the official launch in London on December 11th and get extra bonuses. Profits go to AfriKids, Room to Read, and the Tibetan Children’s Education Foundation.

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