Training the Butterflies: Interview with Scott Berkun

by Scott Berkun, Liz Danzico

8 Reader Comments

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  1. I really enjoyed reading Scott’s book. The biggest message for me was about practicing. It is so easy not to practice enough because of silly reasons like “I’ll sound dumb talking to myself”, etc. The reality is you sound dumber in front of a bunch of people without rehearsing. I took Scott’s advice to heart and for my last presentation I practiced more than I had before and I felt much more comfortable presenting (even though it was a brand new topic I am researching and I had never shared any of that content, which is nerve-wrecking on its own). Kudos Scott on an inspiring book! PS: Folks will also appreciate Scott’s writing style. If you ever heard him or saw videos of his talks online, you can really hear him through the conversational style, which is particularly fitting for this topic.
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  2. Great interview. I’ve read the book and i think it’s amazing :)
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  3. ...the best way to become a better speaker is to PRACTICE.  You can read all the books you want, but it won’t do you any good if you aren’t regularly getting up there and talking.  Getting feedback is also essential.  Did you make your points?  Where you interesting?  Did you say “um” every 5 seconds? I strongly recommend people find a good Toastmaster club in their area.  Visit some and see which one is best for you.  You will give speeches and get evaluated by other speakers.
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  4. Trent: I’m the author and I totally agree. One of the key themes of the book is both practice and how unlikely it is to get good *any* skill merely by reading a book about it. Though a good book + practice can help tons. Toastmasters gets a mention too, btw :)
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  5. ...not only does the opening joke fall flat, but the Johnny Carson trick of making fun of how unfunny it was falls flat too. Then this really funny bit about the audiences’ mothers doesn’t so much come to mind as spring still-born out of your mouth… ...then glancing at your notes a quarter of the way through the talk, you see a logical hole in what you thought was your oh-so-well thought-out thesis that is big enough to drive a NAFTA eighteen wheeler with “Alla En El Rancho Grande” blasting on the eight track… ...then you glance out at an audience with a collective look on its faces that tells you they have noticed that your non-sequitur is showing since well before you were an eighth of the way into the gooney weeds… ...but with visions of Tricky Dick dancing in your head as you affirm to yourself that “I am not a quitter,” red-faced and red-knuckled, you grip the lectern, bury your head in your notes, and slog on… ...until some woman, gripping the hand of a five-year-old, flings open the fire door next to the podium that was supposed to be locked, and you watch as a gust of wind floats your notes into the crack in the riser in which you had almost sprained an ankle, walking up during your introduction… ...as the five-year-old asks, “Mommy? Why are all these people so quiet?”... Then again, when you hit it… When they’re with you… Yea verily, when they’re in the palm of your hand… ...bliss.
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  6. I apologise in advance if this is taken as quite a negative comment, but: was anyone else left wondering, regardless of the quality of this article, _why_ exactly it was in _A List Apart_? This magazine, which I have read for years, is advertised as “for people who make websites”.  Yet I can find almost nothing here that is specifically relevant to web designers.  That is to say, this article is relevant to _everyone_—and in so being it shouldn’t be here. I come to _ALA_ to read about the subject for which I have passion—web design. I do not come here for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (for which I can obtain my own specialists).  So, with the greatest possible respect: can we stick to the point?
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  7. I read the book a while ago and it was quite interesting read.
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  8. I agree that practice is important. In Italian, they have a word called “sprezzatura” which means someone performs a speech or a performance with such ease that it looks completely nonchalant and easy. However, behind the scenes, the performer worked to hard to make it look easy. I think Scott kind of gives us the same message here.
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