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

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  842 ratings  ·  84 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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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
This was a fine, chattily written guide to public speaking, framed around discussing the speaking style of various well-known women. Some sensible advice around finding your own style. Oddly obsessed with TED talks - is it really everyone’s dream to give a TED talk??! Not really what I was looking for, but I can see how it could be a good fit for other readers.
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...
Reflections and lessons learned:
“You can’t get around fear, you can only go through it...”

Ahhh, the simple act of humans talking to humans - why is something that we do everyday make so many people nervous...? I am unfortunately one of that group and I do wish that I knew why so listened to this with much interest. My mind is always comforted at the thought that its nerves from caring but that doesn’t take the symptoms away. Am I afraid of my own power in conveying thoughts to multiple people?!?
Lisa Bentley
Oct 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Speaking in public is hard. It can be made even harder when your gender is an additional factor into why you may be judged, not listened to or respected. Viv Groskop’s brilliant book How to Own the Room is a powerhouse of a book. It is empowering and give amazing information, advice and real life stories on how to build up your confidence and to be able to give amazing speeches. 

I took a lot from this book. I work in a school and I don’t really have a problem with speaking to my students but I  
Jan 01, 2021 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
Dec 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
I don't know what I was expecting, but this was really good. I liked all her examples. I don't do a lot of speaking, but this would helpful if I did. ...more
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! ...more
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
I am not too sure why I read this book
Olivia Day
Mar 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
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Oh, this book was an absolute delight.

Viv Groskop is a woman I had not previously encountered in my 23 years, but upon finishing this book I took it upon myself to find out everything I could about her. Her writing style is so witty and engaging, and her commitment to female empowerment endeared her to me instantly.

How to Own the Room is subtitled women and the art of brilliant speaking, which succinctly and perfectly sums up the aims of
Briana Kelly
Apr 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing

Overview: Practical step by step approach, with plenty of relatable examples, of how to achieve executive presence and speak publically with confidence, authority and authenticity.

Likes: Practical, inspiring, humorous, empowering, and loved how each chapter picks one strength of a celebrity to focus on for public speaking inspiration, additional “Own The Zoom” chapter which was added post-COVID19 pandemic. I also loved the clear, to the point summary and recommended exercise at the end of each
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
Anonymous reader
Mar 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
A good book for anyone who is looking at doing a presentation. The only thing about this book is that it is aimed towards females. If this book was aimed towards all genders then it would connect to so many more people. Men have as much anxiety as women do.
With that said, the techniques for tackling nervousness that the author offered were pretty good, they were simple but effective. Also I really liked how she gave exercises to follow after each chapter to help improve. As I’m sure you can ima
Susie Ramroop
Mar 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I love the writing in this book. No matter what level of speaker you are you will gain from reading it. It is a mix of appraisal of well known speakers, applicability to the workplace and practical exercises for you to improve your confidence and more importantly your frequency of putting yourself forward to speak. As a confident speaker I found this interesting too, although I have triggered introspection about how much I use my hands - it confirms what my 9 year old has already told me.... Whe ...more
Anna Perho
Jan 24, 2021 rated it liked it
A highly needed book since there are very few speaking "manuals" out there. Easy to read, has some great, practical tips.
The writer points out that we shouldn't compare us to huge speakers but then again the book is based a lot on world's biggest speaking stars like Oprah, which is a little bit demoralizing. The best phrase I got from a book is that though speaking is said to be difficult, it necessarily isn't for you. Plus being overly worried about what other people think about you has a hint
Karolina Karakulko
Mar 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
I decided to give this book a try, as I am someone who struggles with public speaking.

This book had insights on successful women, who delivered powerful speeches. It discussed different speech delivery types and argued that there is not one formula that works for everyone. After reading it, I felt more confident about the thought of delivering a speech publicly. I realised that instead of thinking "let me get this over with", I should relax more and enjoy this opportunity to share my thoughts. A
Cat Sousa
Jun 10, 2021 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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 ( picturetalk321 )
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.
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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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