July 5, 2021– What is it that most people fear more than death? Public speaking. Yep, that’s right! People are more afraid of speaking in public than they are dying, which boggles my mind. This month, we’ll be focusing on Public Speaking for Authors; I encourage you to download the Podbean App so that you can listen to our Pandamonium Publishing House podcast. It’s always free, and there’s a lot of additional, helpful content that compliments our written posts. Here’s the link: https://www.podbean.com/pu/pbblog-idwit-460248
Public speaking is a big part of author life, and you must get over your fear of it. School visits, book signings, public Q&A, media interviews, and public events can send most authors into a bumbling, grumbling mess. Don’t fret; I’m here to help! I’ve had the privilege of speaking in public on many occasions for many different things such as book marketing, book presentations, transitioning from writer to author etc. I really love public speaking because it allows me to connect intimately with the audience and experience in-depth questions to help writers with what they want to know.
Here are two quick tips you can use to be more confident in any speaking situation (we’ll dive in to specific speaking engagement situations and tips this month, but for today, we want to get your feet wet) :
- Stand up straight. Posture is important. Nothing gives away someone’s confidence quite like posture; it’s something that you can’t fake and that everyone notices. Pretend a string connects the tip of your nose to your belly button-keep the imaginary string taught, and you’ll have perfect posture every time.
- Make eye contact. I’ll never forget a teacher I had in high school who would stare at the back of the room while he was lecturing and NEVER made eye contact with us, even when he called on us to answer a question. It was bizarre and uncomfortable for everyone (even though he was a heck of a teacher). Now I realize why he did this; he was afraid of speaking to us, afraid of being on display in front of his students, and was nervous about public speaking even though we saw him every fourth period. He did this with ALL of his classes, not just ours. It’s how he got through the nerves. I don’t recommend this as a public speaking author because of the lack of connection it gives your audience and the distraction factor (students would often turn around to see if they could find what he was looking at). You don’t have to focus on one person (that’s just as weird), but ensure that you’re engaging in eye contact with multiple people in the audience that you’re speaking to. This simple gesture lets everyone know that you’re tuned in and confident. * Pro Tip: When I first started public speaking, I would focus on people’s necklaces, ties, collars of their shirts etc. I was far enough away from them that they couldn’t tell that I wasn’t looking at them:) It helped me get over the fear of making direct eye contact with my audience until I was completely comfortable doing so.
I hope you enjoy the theme this month as we dive in to specifics of public speaking; stay tuned for practical tips, tricks, and ideas to make you a confident, well-spoken author.