Notes on How to Own the Room from Viv Groskop

Photo of the book cover while travelling. It’s the German language version of the book.

Link to buy: Amazon
(This is an affiliate link. I get a few cents if you order through this link.)

Published / Read: 2018 English language version – 2022 German language version / October 2023

tl;dr: Liv shares examples of powerful female public speakers such as Michelle Obama, Angela Merkel or Joan Rivers. She encourages the female reader to start public speaking.
Would I reread it? Hmm. There were many moments I could relate to. For example, Viv explains that women tend to make up excuses as to why they would not be able to speak in front of people (“I’m not the expert.” “I don’t have anything to say.”, “My male colleague does it better.”). I did use these excuses in the past.

Yet, I would not reread the book. I would rather invest my time learning how to craft a good speech.

Below are my take-aways. I read the German version of the book, and the page indication relates to this version. The insights are liberally translated into English.

TopicPageInsightThought Corina
Intro Tjen Onaran,9Only the visible person is happening.It might be daunting to post on Social Media or share our voice publicly. But if you don’t do it. People will not think of you when that job is on the market.
Finding your niche10You can change your niche over time. It is more important to start being visible and remain in one niche forever. Tjen advises you to find your niche. But it doesn’t mean that you need to speak about it forever. The niche can evolve as you do.
Own your narrative. 11, 22It has never been easier to control your narrative than in our decade. By sharing our news on Social Media, we decide what is visible to us.
It’s never been easier to start public speaking11Starting your public speaking career has never been easier either.
You can speak at meetups, at work events, etc.
In earlier days you needed a lot of work and some luck to be able to speak at the local debate club or even on TV.
Some meetups and conferences explicitly welcome first-time speakers. If you are working in SEO, you might want to check out #SEOnerdSwitzerland, Search Barcelona or Search London.
Jump in the cold water27Know your excuses. Work on them.
People who work on TV stations confirm that men are more courageous to be on screen than women.
My excuse has been “I don’t have data to share”. I then pivoted to share my experience.
You will be judged18People will have opinions on your performance. It is easier for people to speak about the performance itself than the content of your speech. I disagree here. If you excel at the performance, there’s nothing to judge and people will focus on the content.
PostureBefore speaking, stand hip-width apart and put the shoulders down. This grounds you.I also recommend this video: The public speaking lesson you never had – DK . 
The topic of the presentation In a 15-minute speech, you don’t need to share your entire knowledge. It is sufficient if you share three well-elaborated pointsI’ve learned it is important to structure your speech into steps. Make the content rememberable, e.g. if you share a process, break it down into 4-8 steps. Repeat the steps throughout the presentation.
More tips on this in my recent article: Public Speaking Tips: 23 Lessons Learned While Preparing for My First Public Speaking Gig
Interaction with the audienceP. 123Make eye contact, stand in the middle, own the stage and avoid giving a lecture.What works for me: Find friendly faces in the audience and speak to them. Rotate your glance after two to three sentences.
What to speak aboutP.126We all have areas where we are experts. We all have experienced something unique. Share it, others will benefit from it.My speaking coach Aline told me: “At least someone in the room needs to hear what you share today. It is your duty to share your story” 🙂

Corina Burri

Corina is a SEO professional from Zürich. Since 2016 she's in SEO and has contributed to publications such as SEOFOMO, Tech SEO Tips, or iPullRank. When not grinding, she enjoys exploring Switzerland.

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