Want to Be a Better Speaker? Read These!

October 2023

If you're a nonprofit leader looking to enhance your speaking and presentation skills, these three books are essential reads. They offer valuable insights into the art of communication, confidence-building, and the science of captivating your audience.


1. "The Pin Drop Principle" by David Lewis

In "The Pin Drop Principle," David Lewis dissects the elements that make speeches truly memorable. For nonprofit leaders, effective communication is vital when conveying your organization's mission and inspiring support. Lewis reveals the secrets behind engaging storytelling, emphasizing the importance of emotional connection, clarity, and authenticity. By applying his principles, nonprofit leaders can craft compelling narratives that resonate with their audience and drive meaningful action.

2. "Presence" by Amy Cuddy

Amy Cuddy's "Presence" explores the profound impact of body language and self-assurance in public speaking. As a nonprofit leader, projecting confidence and authenticity is key when addressing stakeholders, donors, and the public. Cuddy delves into the science of power poses and shares techniques to overcome nervousness and boost self-confidence. Her insights are invaluable for nonprofit leaders striving to convey conviction and credibility, whether on stage or in one-on-one interactions. 

3. "Talk Like TED" by Carmine Gallo

Carmine Gallo's "Talk Like TED" breaks down the secrets of TED Talks, which are renowned for their ability to captivate and inspire. For nonprofit leaders, mastering the art of concise and impactful communication is essential. Gallo reveals the techniques used by TED speakers to engage, inform, and persuade. By incorporating storytelling, conveying passion, and delivering clear, memorable messages, nonprofit leaders can elevate their presentations and leave a lasting impression on their audience.

In summary, these books offer nonprofit leaders' valuable tools and techniques to become more effective and influential speakers. Whether you're addressing donors, volunteers, or the public, these insights will help you convey your nonprofit's mission with impact and authenticity, fostering support and driving positive change.

Dr. Patton McDowell, CFRE, MBA, is the author of the best-selling Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership and host of the weekly podcast, also titled Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership.  He founded PMA Nonprofit Leadership in 2009, and has coached and consulted with over 275 nonprofit organizations. A Certified Fundraising Executive and Master Trainer for AFP Global, he also serves as an Executive in Residence at Cornell University's Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy.