Public Speaking Advice from a Comic Novelist

Teddy Wayne, a novelist whose latest, The Love Song of Jonny Valentine, was reviewed on the front page of the New York Times Book Review on Sunday, also appeared in the newspaper on Monday with an article giving advice about public speaking. Mr. Wayne earned this prime coverage because of his reputation for comic writing. The review called his new book “more than a scabrous sendup of American celebrity culture; it’s also a poignant portrait of one young artist’s coming of age.”

But comedy might not be the best vehicle for advice on public speaking. I commented on his article:

You’re a very funny writer, Mr. Wayne, and you’ve done some clever riffs on the apocryphal misconceptions about public speaking advice, but this is a dead serious matter. Businesses and careers can rise or fall on how a person communicates.

Another clever writer named Mark Twain once said that there are two kinds of public speakers: those who get nervous and those who are liars.

They may not see the humor in your article.