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How to Own the Room: Women and the Art of Brilliant Speaking

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  540 ratings  ·  54 reviews

'Inspirational.' Mary Portas

'Indispensable ... written with style and wit.' Mishal Husain

Most books about public speaking don’t tell you what to do when you open your mouth and nothing comes out. And they don’t tell you how to get over the anxiety about performance that most people naturally have. They don’t tell you what to do in the moments when you are m

Kindle Edition, 214 pages
Published November 1st 2018 by Transworld Digital
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A well-known rule of thumb for career advancement is that you need to make you and your work more visible. In fact, one researcher found that visibility (or what he calls "exposure") counts towards 60% of your success. This causes a conundrum for women who stereotypically prefer to share the credit and also expect their work to speak for them. At the same time, there's been a growing demand for conference organizers to ensure there is more diversity in their presenters, but one conference organi ...more
Claire Fuller
This has been sitting on my tbr shelf for far too long, and I should have got it down before I had to do all those talks about my books, that speech to sixth formers, that videoed interview. Groskop looks at a series of women who have made speeches, from politicians to writers to comedians, and analyses their delivery in a way that can easily be applied to how the rest of us might have to give speeches. It's accessible and very implementable (is that a word?), and I highly recommend it for anyon ...more
Catrinel Bianca
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Greatly inspiring and empowering!
Fun, actual with a holistic approach on the public speaking from body language, message to attitude tips.
The book is with exercises that can be followed every day or just when you

I also recommend Viv's Instagram page and podcast where she continues the stories and examples of inspiring and empowering talks from the present.

Emma (escapetothebookshelf)
This is a really impressive and original book. Each section of the book takes a different female speaker and analyses their style of speaking and why it is effective both for them and generally for others. As someone who finds public speaking a terrifying thought, this book contains so many useful tips. It casts the idea of speaking in front of others in a positive light and is extremely encouraging towards women speaking out no matter how big or small the situation is. The range of speakers dis ...more
Shirley Bateman
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an inspiring book! A must read for any woman who wants to master the art of public speaking and conquer the dreaded nerves it entails. I loved the examples of great speeches delivered by women. They show that you don’t have to be a fabulous orator (although it helps if you’re Oprah) and you definitely don’t have to be perfect. Ok, time to channel Michelle Obama...
Clara Smeaton
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not just for people who’re scared of public speaking. As a person who does public speaking almost every day for work, I enjoyed this book for some quick tips on finding your own style and considering the differing styles and successes of other women speakers.
Linda Ilonze
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Once in awhile a self-help books (can this book be called one?) to improve various aspects of one’s life. This is a book that was bought on such a whim but it has proven to be better than anticipated.

Viv Groskop the author is also the creator of a podcast of the same title that I already listen to so suffice it to say that I was already a huge fan of her interviews and post-interview analysis and how to encourage women to effectively put their best foot forward in life.

The book follows a similar
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: life-advice
Viv Groskop’s book is a one I enjoyed reading a lot. Since I’m in academia, I must do public talks quite often and the anxiety and fear of public speaking are an issue I can deeply relate to (btw, I am not an English mother speaker so in case I have to give a talk in English, multiply the anxiety factor by ten).
First, what I really appreciated is that it is not a feminist book. It is addressed to women speakers, and it relates to issues that mainly women face, but it also stresses the point that
Fiona Erskine
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To read this book is to receive a and stiff drink and a warm hug just before you go on stage.

Viv Groskop shows you how to pull the oxygen up through your feet, to quell the jelly in your legs, to slow your heartbeat, clear the brain and free your voice.

Your message is up to you; this is a book to ensure that the delivery doesn't let you down.

Such a useful book. Tremendously simple, but then the best ideas often are.

Confidence holds us back, and this is a confidence boost in book form.

Funny and e
Cathy Hayes
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-books
Loved this really practical book about how to increase your confidence when speaking. One to read regularly to remind myself of the great tips and hints from the author. Highly recommend if you avoid speaking up at work and don’t put yourself forward for more formal speaking engagements - you know it is holding you back.
Pauline Narvas
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic book all about public speaking! What sets this book apart to all the other speaking books I've read before is the focus on female speakers, I am wildly inspired by them all. My favourite message from Viv is that although we should all be like these fantastic speakers, we also need to find what works for us as individuals. I highly recommend it!
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
I am not too sure why I read this book
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I actually rather liked this, I found it easy to read and encouraging without being condescending with Groskop reminding the reader why a book focused on women and speaking is needed and that it is not to do with women being unable or incapable (basically society needs to accept that loud and pushy is not the only way). Groskop pulls together examples of publically visible women and their speeches and identifies the approaches and techniques they use as part of these. She then goes on to breakdo ...more
3.5 stars, with the caveat that I am probably not the right audience for this book. How to Own the Room: Women and the Art of Brilliant Speaking is part you can do it and part here's what worked for other women. Commenting on the latter, Viv's analysis of the body language and tone of famous female speakers is insightful, if not interesting. That said, as she herself notes:
It's great to look at these powerhouse speeches and be inspired by them, but perhaps even more inspiring is Janine from Acco
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A book for those who would like to be able to speak (publicly) better.
It's really interactive; I was putting the book down to watch videos of the talks she was explaining while I was reading. Viv gives examples of a wide variety of women who have given different talks, and explains why that talk went well (and not so well in some cases!)
Halfway through the book I did a talk that I'd signed up for, using some of the information gained from Viv's advice. I'm keen to find my next speaking opportu
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting book, not about what we say, but how we say it.

I have several public speaking events coming up and Viv’s book is a great read to start thinking about how I can prepare and control for whatever fear, anxiety etc, and also about how to find my voice, style and express myself in a truthful way.

Lots of practical tips and exercise to put it all in action as well, which is extremely helpful.
Nina 321
A stupid book. It gets two stars for fangirling Christine Lagarde, Michelle Obama and Angela Merkel, and for making me google Joan Rivers and laughing out loud. It‘s why I bought this: I was seduced by the clever and cute device of titling each chapter “Be more Angela”, “Be more JK”, “Be more Oprah.”

And yes, there are 2 or 3 useful pointers. But there is also a lot of repetition, trite advice (“breathe”), quotes pulled out of the ether (Plutarch? Really? Why?) and claims without evidence. Most a
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Closer to 4.5 stars. It is a light and easy read with practical advice. I enjoyed watching YouTube videos of the speeches and speakers referred to as I went through the book. I feel less afraid of the prospect of public speaking, though maybe not to the point that I would rather be in the pulpit than the box. And this point it is tie, whereas previously I overwhelmingly would have opted for the box.
Apr 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
I sped through this book in 2 days because of how utterly engaging it was and its safe to say that considering I rarely look to non-fiction/ advice books, I may have been well and truly converted. Each chapter focuses on a different inspirational woman and discusses not only how to become a great speaker, but a more confident woman as a whole. A book that achieves more than you expect it to is always one that deserves acclaim in by book. Loved it!
Daisy Robyn
Apr 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
"You do not need a drum to be heard. You do not need to become a priestess. All you need is a voice and an idea of what you might like to say. No more excuses. Go and own the room."

Viv examines how to do public speaking efficiently with the use of other women's speeches throughout history. She also looks at the difficulties of being a woman and commanding a room.

Each chapter ends with tips and tricks which are useful summaries. Really interesting books!
Becca Di Francesco
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a really accessible guide to public speaking and I want to give it to all the women I know.
A healthy mix of things I didn't know and things I needed to be reminded about, such as:
"If you find yourself thinking, But I don't have anything interesting or important to say, I'm sorry but that is utter bullshit"
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably nothing in this I didn’t know, but it put into words a lot of things that I have learned through experience. Really well written around some aspects of public speaking that aren’t always covered in sessions on presentation skills and I would definitely recommend to people wanting to give better talks. Well written and accessible.
Kathryn Terry
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I completely recommend this book and know I'll be dipping in and out of it again over the next few months and, I expect, beyond that too. It's a book, not about the content of a speech, but how to deal with the nerves and anxiety that come with public speaking. I love the references to successful speeches and the analysis of how different women achieved these. I completely recommend.
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! A great read with fantastic stories, tips and lists of actions to improve your own speaking. The author makes excellent points and observations it isn’t too preachy, is achievable and with the stories means it’s also enjoyable to read. I will be taking forward lots of the points in this book 📚.
Jan 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
Useful book. I skimmed through a lot of it - especially the first couple of chapters, but I read enough to know where to go back to.
Shazia Miah
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
Okay book - I did not finish - started to feel like a chore to read
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great read, full of practical tips with inspiring real life examples. No gender discrimination, equally useful for men!
Gina K
May 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
Well... I am placing this book to one side and don't think I shall ever feel inclined to revisit it again.
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Worth reading

Used some good examples of speeches being delivered :)
Helped me to deliver stand up comedy and rethink some nerves.
Jun 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Ok read

Ok read. Slightly lacking the detail I was look for. Better reads are out there, if you spend the time researching.
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Viv Groskop is a writer, stand-up comedian and TV and radio presenter. She is the host of the chart-topping podcast HOW TO OWN THE ROOM, featuring women like Hillary Clinton, Margaret Atwood, Sandi Toksvig and Meera Syal talking about power, performance and public speaking. She has hosted book tours for Graham Norton and Jo Brand and is the veteran of four Edinburgh Fringe shows. She has presented ...more

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