Richard Newman’s fascinating new book examines our innate ability to communicate and, crucially, how to harness it in business.
By Lucy Bryson
In the opening credits of his new book, You Were Born to Speak, Richard Newman is described by Di Macdonald, a former head of learning at Apple, as a “Rock star of communication”. For the uninitiated, Newman is precisely that. He’s one of the world’s leading experts on communication and body language and has helped global brands develop their presentation and pitch skills for over 20 years.
I mention this because Newman’s words count. In an era when bookshelves – digital and in-store – are bowing under the weight of “expert” how-to guides, it’s refreshing (and increasingly rare) to find an author with real credentials.
You Were Born To Speakis a complete toolkit for effective communication, and a worthwhile investment for anyone who wants to up their communication game. It’s split into five sections: You Were Born To Do It (outlining the science behind the theory); Style (practical advice on how to stand, move, and adapt behaviour for specific audiences); Story (looking at how to tell stories, and when it is and isn’t appropriate to use visual aids); State (how to keep calm under pressure, breathing exercises); and Be The Person You Were Born To Be, which offers some encouraging final thoughts and suggestions for further reading and resources.
Each chapter ends with a ‘Take Action’ section – have a pen at hand and be prepared to look hard at some of your past public speaking memories in order to improve and move on.
But Newman’s superb book goes one further by critically examining the science and research behind verbal and non-verbal communication skills. He argues that we were all born with an innate ability to communicate effectively (this is what sets us apart as a species, after all) but that most people need to learn how to tap into this natural skill.
Newman weaves his own life story into the text. We discover that he was an awkward and shy teenager who went on to develop his obsession with communication after teaching English to Tibetan monks in the Himalayas – a challenge that relied on body language more than the spoken word.
Whether you’re a seasoned public speaker or share Newman’s early awkwardness, You Were Born To Speak is a powerful tool for improvement.
You Were Born To Speakwill be published on Friday, December 7th, 2018, priced £14.99, and is available for pre-order now from Amazon UK. If you pre-order You Were Born To Speakfrom the book launch website – borntospeak.com then you can attend the official launch in London on December 11thand get extra bonuses. Profits go to AfriKids, Room to Read, and the Tibetan Children’s Education Foundation.