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A Modest Book About How to Make an Adequate Speech

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781780726038

Price: £10.99

ON SALE: 15th June 2023

Genre: Literature & Literary Studies / Prose: Non-fiction / Speeches

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“Where I come from, where modesty is a sin, Flintoff ‘s book would be called ‘The Indispensable Guide to Giving an Unforgettable Speech’.”Jay Heinrichs, New York Times bestselling author

Most of us dread public speaking. But at some point we find ourselves forced to make a speech. And we worry: Will my jokes fall flat? What if I freeze? Is it okay to read notes? What if people walk out?

This book won’t magically transform you into a fast-talking corporate hotshot. But it will show you how to think about public speaking in a new way, and with a spot of luck, you will achieve adequacy. Or better!

Drawing on ancient principles of rhetoric and his own entertaining successes and failures on the speech-giving circuit, John-Paul Flintoff provides simple but effective techniques to help you to speak with confidence to any crowd, whether it’s a work presentation or a best friend’s wedding.

Humble but motivating, this is a guide to finding your voice, even if it’s a bit croaky at first, and a reassuring affirmation that we all have something to say.


I gave my first public speech at 15, at my Granny's funeral, and I wish I'd had this book then. Not because it would have changed what I said, but because it would have reassured me. My words, though carefully chosen and sincere, were not what people expected. But they were adequate, and this book would have told me that this was OK. Had I had Jean-Paul Flintoff's warm wit to guide me through my subsequent years of public speaking, I might have been a good deal better than adequate. Flintoff is erudite and playful and, despite the modesty, rigorous. This is about much more than adequate public speaking. It is about life. And it is great.
Angus Cameron – Academic, Author and Voice & Performance Coach
I absolutely loved this. What did I love? I loved the cheeky tone, the artless blurting, the pithiness, the constant breaking of the fourth wall and defying convention about how to write a how-to book. I loved the vulnerability and honesty. This is a subject which, as he says, has been written about many times before, but never with such refreshing chutzpah and humour. The book itself is a masterclass in its own subject.
— Jenny Rogers, Executive coach, speaker, and author of Are You Listening? (Penguin Business 2021)