Book Review: SPLASH A leader’s Guide to Effective Public Speaking

SPLASH A Leader’s Guide to Effective Public Speaking, Chris Brady, Obstacles Press, 2014

Chris Brady, part of the Life Leadership cabal penned a short book about public speaking. This book is essentially composed of 27 tips.  Each chapter explores each tip.  Some tips are broad and high level, others get more at traditional stage craft.   The central message this book is “SPLASH”. and SPLASH represents the main points:

  • Say Something that matters
  • Prepare the Speaker, Not just the speech
  • Leave it all backstage
  • Audience is Everything
  • Simplicity is power
  • Happen

Luckily for me, as I was reading this I realized I had a public speaking engagement only a week or so out, so I could see first hand if the tips would make for a better presentation.

Chiefly, this book repeats some advice that I’ve heard elsewhere, none the less it is good advice, like the stressing of preparation and knowing your audience.

Brady at least offered some advice that has been proven worthwhile in other sources.  At other points Brady seemed to be flaying the herald and exclaiming some pretty large ideas and exposing a warrior like ethos for public speaking.  A deep indifference strikes me when thinking about the warrior ethos for public speaking.  Brady emphasizes deeply the preparation of the speaker.  Not just knowing the material, but being deeply passionate and having the convictions to bring your ideas to your audience.  Sometimes I felt this book was made for someone preparing for a TED Talk, where as the start of the book, it seemed this was supposed to be an every person’s book. But then it hit me, the intended audience of this book is probably someone in LIFE LEADERSHIP, where these type of big ideas no doubt hit deep in that kind of culture.

Of course, and what is typical in these short takes of a book, is a simple stating of the facts without any real reflection or deep explanations.  For instance Brady constantly writes how it is important to get the “right information” and follow the “right media”.  This advice on it’s own does not offer much, on what “right” is, and to be fair is a complicated topic.

Overall this book is fairly cohesive and coherent, at 153 pages the book won’t keep you too long.  But that’s to say, despite the slick presentation, the repetitious stating of bullet pointed key points SPLASH only managed to make small ripples in my head space.  As for my real speaking engagement that I took after reading this book, perhaps the only real advice that seemed to stick was the advice to use strategic pauses and as a lesson learned for my talk; perhaps knowing my audience better.

I’m doubtful that this book will make anyone a great public speaker, but if you are stranger to the stage, perhaps this book at the minimum can give you a false sense of confidence.  At a minimum this book probably won’t do much harm.


+ Some good conventional tips
+ Easy reading
– a lack of depth and real reflection
– A absence of any real impact on me as the reader.
– skeptical that it will have a large impact on my public speaking.






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