Browse our handpicked list of third-party books and products.
These are resources and products that we have successfully used ourselves, and/or recommended to our private clients and students. They can help you enhance your presentations, learn the skills of influence and persuasion, and improve your public speaking.
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Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
We’ve recommended this classic book by Robert Cialdini to many clients seeking to improve their professional influence and relationships. Cialdini covers six major principles of persuasion, derived from observations of sales, marketing, charity work and other fields. It’s a dense book but fascinating and extremely informative.
How to Win Friends and Influence People
Dale Carnegie’s classic and timeless book on positive influence. If you are just starting to become more persuasive and build your professional relationships, the ideas in this book are a strong foundation.
Getting to Yes
The ability to negotiate is a critical communication skill. Effective negotiation will help you achieve your business and professional goals. This book gives you a clear framework for understanding how negotiation works, and how to do it right.
Talk Like TED and TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking
TED is probably the most prominent public speaking stage in the world. In “Talk Like TED” Carmine Gallo studies what makes the best TED talks so powerful.
In “TED Talks” Chris Anderson, the founder of the modern-day TED conference, provides his tips and guidance for impactful and memorable public speaking.
Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise
This fascinating book explores what it takes to achieve mastery in almost any field or skill. By looking at examples from a wide variety of disciplines (from chess grandmasters to public speakers to the top violinists in the world), the authors drill down on the strategies necessary to not just get better at a skill, but to perform at the highest level. Whereas most people assume that top performers must have some innate “gift” they are born with, “Peak” demonstrates through evidence and anecdotes that mastery is open to almost anyone, if they are willing and motivated to put in the work.
Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People
Vanessa Van Edwards is one of the top experts on communication and interpersonal dynamics. Her book Captivate brings together her original research and discoveries from a variety of scientific disciplines to teach you how to connect with others, read body language, build rapport, make a great first impression, and more.
DataStory: Explain Data and Inspire Action Through Story
Most professionals struggle to present data in a compelling and persuasive way. Nancy Duarte and her team of designers, branding experts, and presentation consultants provide effective techniques for data visualization and data storytelling.
Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended On it
Chris Voss is a former FBI hostage negotiator and current negotiation expert and consultant. His insights on negotiation include concepts like “tactical empathy” and making the other side feel safe and understood. For unique and original insights from someone with real-world negotiation experience, this book is a must.
How to Get a Meeting with Anyone: The Untapped Selling Power of Contact Marketing
Stu Heinecke’s insightful and fun book will give you great ideas on how to get the attention of the most hard-to-reach people. These skills are not just relevant for salespeople and business development reps. Entrepreneurs, professional speakers looking to enhance their personal brand, and corporate professionals trying to influence executives, will all benefit from this book. His fascinating stories about connecting with VIPs and his unique strategies for making contact and creating memorable conversations, will get you thinking creatively about your own professional influence.
Cameras and Microphones
For video conferencing, virtual meetings, and remote work, having a good quality camera makes a big difference in your appearance to colleagues, and your meeting presence.
Logitech has the best webcam options for video conferencing and virtual meetings. They have a variety of options at different price points, depending on how much you want to spend and how high-quality you want your image to be.
A great microphone can totally change the direction of your meetings and calls. Good quality sound makes you clearer, and more easily understood by other participants. For webinars and presentations, high quality sound will help you look more professional and credible to your audience.
Many webcams provide adequate microphones. But if you are interested in taking your sound to the next level, we recommend the Blue Yeti brand. They have professional-quality microphones at an accessible price for most professionals. Blue Yeti is used by many podcasters and YouTube influencers.
For the next level of video quality, you will want to consider a professional camera and lens. Especially if you are going to be shooting big presentations, promotional videos, speaker reels, or creating content for social media.
We’ve successfully used Canon DSLRs like the ones below for years, so we recommend that brand. Also look at other types of cameras like mirrorless cameras.
Canon cameras can also be used as your primary webcam (Canon offers free software on their website to connect your camera to your video conferencing apps).
Lighting for Video Conferencing
Even the best cameras will struggle to make a great, crisp, high-quality image if your lighting is terrible. If you don’t have access to a window with natural light, consider a cheap lighting source like one of the following. It makes a surprising difference in the quality of your image on your video calls.
Clickers and Teleprompters
The best public speakers take advantage of the latest tech to keep their presentations sharp and impactful.
Clickers (presentation remotes) like the ones below are standard-issue for corporate presenters and professional speakers who want to move through their slide decks effortlessly while on stage or on camera. Logitech is, again, the easy choice for quality and price.
A teleprompter is for more big-time media opportunities, keynote addresses, or other high-level scripted presentations. If you are giving those kinds of presentations from your home or office, then you will need a beam splitter like the one listed below. It connects with your iPad and camera.
VR and Posture Training
We’ve used VR headsets for years to help students beat stage fright. Get a VR headset like the one below and then download the app Virtual Speech. There are a number of VR apps that simulate public speaking for overcoming stage fright, but Virtual Speech is the best we’ve seen on the market so far. It has some of the most realistic looking scenes and really helps you feel immersed in the situation.
Posture is another challenge that many speakers encounter. We all know that having great posture is important for your professionalism and appearance as a speaker, but also for health. We’ve tried out the Upright Go posture trainer and app (which is free with the device), and we think it’s a great solution for those that are working on their posture and body language.
Movie: The King’s Speech
The struggles of public speaking are universal and timeless. The King’s Speech won the Academy Award for Best Picture perhaps partly for that reason. Based on the real story of England’s Prince Albert, his speech impediment, and his work with speech therapists, if nothing else it’s a reminder that even royalty can struggle with communicating effectively.