Posted on Leave a comment

Practice Distraction

July 20, 2021– We’re talking about public speaking all this month for authors and today, we’re going to touch on a subject that happens often enough, but hopefully not too frequently! As authors, we know it’s part of the job to give talks, book signings, workshops, and live readings, but along with an audience comes distraction.

What do I mean? I mean that anything done in front of a live audience runs the risk of hiccups! Whether it’s tech issues, a crying baby, a restless elementary classroom, coughs and sneezes, or a pinging phone, there will inevitably be distractions. Yes, even with a room full of adults, there will be things that happen that you can’t control.

So, how do we remedy this? Preparation is necessary and going into your speech/presentation, EXPECTING distractions will help prepare you the most. Instead of derailing your speech, you’ll stay focused and on topic. Here’s how to practice distraction:

  1. Turn up the volume. Turn on the television, turn up the radio, and set a timer on your phone so that it goes off every few minutes. By practicing your presentation with distractions on a huge scale, you’ll be able to handle the little ones that will, no doubt, come up during your speech. If you can stay focused with all of the noise going on in the background, you’re ready! If not, keep practicing until you can.
  2. Enlist your family. Ask your family to fill in as your audience as you perfect and practice your speech. Get them to cough, shift in their seats, whisper to each other, and receive notifications on their devices while you’re presenting because these are things that happen in reality presentations. This will prepare you for when these things happen to you during your public talk.
  3. Get winded. Practice your speech while exercising. Why? Because when most people step on stage to speak to an audience, their heart rate elevates, their pulse quickens, and they get winded because of the adrenaline rushing through their body. Exercise is the best way to mimic what happens to most people on stage, and if you practice your speech while walking or running, you’ll dull the sensation/anxiety, and your brain will say, “We’ve been here before; it’s all good. I know what this is and why it’s happening; we’re just exercising, no need to panic.” Plus, if you use the space of the stage you’re on effectively, you’ll move around (not too much to distract from your message) and gesture to your listeners.

Practicing distraction is an excellent way for authors to stay focused and on track during their presentations!

Posted on Leave a comment

What’s Your Type?

July 19, 2021– I hope that you’re learning valuable information from our theme this month which is public speaking for authors. Today we’re focusing on the five types of public speaking, all of which you may be asked to do at one time or another during the course of your career as an author. Let’s dig into the list!

  1. Informative. This type of public speaking is pretty self-explanatory. An informative presentation focuses on educating your audience in the space that you are an expert in. Examples can include the mechanics of novel writing, the differences between traditional and self-publishing, how to write children’s picture books etc. Whatever you choose to speak on that is an informative type of speech, the goal is to help your audience understand the subject and to remember what they’ve learned.
  2. Persuasive. Persuasive speeches entice your reader to take action. For example, let’s say that you’re giving a speech to encourage your audience to enrol in your class on how to self-publish; you would outline the benefits of self-publishing, what they can expect to learn from you, and how it will help them reach their goals. Don’t focus on yourself; focus on your audience! What can you do for them?
  3. Ceremonial. “I’d like to thank the academy…”This is also known as a special occasion speech; perhaps you’re accepting a literary or entrepreneur award etc., ceremonial speeches thank the people that gave the award/voted for you or your book. Ceremonial speeches should also inspire your audience that they can be in your position one day, too, without coming across as arrogant on your part.
  4. Impromptu. This is the most dreaded type of public speaking for authors, especially those who consider themselves hardcore introverts. Impromptu speeches are unexpected and off the cuff. This type of speech may be asked of you if you’re a guest of honour at a surprise party to celebrate the launch of your new book, as an example. There’s no time to prepare, so it’s best to keep it short and simple.
  5. Debatable. I love this type of public speaking because of its wild card feel! You never know the topics that may come up, and debatable speeches often come up during author panels, genre-specific talks, and anything that is a hot-button topic in publishing, literature, and writing. Topics can include author questions and answers after a presentation or book signing and during book clubs! For example, you may be giving a talk on self-publishing, and there could be people in the audience that think traditional publishing is the only way to go. Get ready to debate and remember to be respectful while being confident in your stance.

Public speaking should be fun, and it can be when you have a ton of knowledge to pull from! Preparation (yes, even for the impromptu speeches) is the key to your success—practice, practice, practice.

Posted on Leave a comment

Mirror, Mirror

July 16, 2021– As we continue with our theme this month of Public Speaking for Authors, we’ve covered various subjects, including the mechanics of speech writing, best practices, and how to earn money as an author by public speaking. Today we’re going to focus on a little something that I learned during my Consumer Neuromarking education. It’s a specific practice that some of you do already without even realizing; we’re talking about mirroring.

You may or may not have heard of this term before, or perhaps you didn’t know the name of it, but mirroring is something that most people do subconsciously. I’m here to help you be conscious of doing it! I’ll explain why in a second; let’s get back to the definition. Mirroring is defined as the behaviour in which one person unconsciously imitates the gesture, speech pattern, or attitude of another. Mirroring often occurs in social situations, particularly in the company of close friends or family.-Wikipedia. 

So, why is mirroring so important when you’re at a book signing, public event, or one on one with a reader? Here are three reasons why:

  1. Connection. If mirroring occurs in the company of close friends or family, then one would realize how powerful this is when used in a book signing setting because the person we are mirroring would feel like we’re close friends! Case and point has anyone ever said to you, “It’s so weird because I know we just met, but I feel like I’ve known you forever!” If they have, it means that what you’re doing is mirroring them and creating a connection.
  2. Ease. Mirroring our gestures, speech patterns, and attitudes after a reader, we’re interacting with allows them to feel at ease. I’m especially aware of this; we all are because like attracts like. I’m not loud or aggressive or in your face, and I don’t like it when I’m at a vendor show as a shopper and the person behind the booth is acting that way. It’s a major barrier to conversation (I won’t even think about buying their product/service), and I’ll be locating all of the exits and trying to find an excuse to get away from them. If you’re doing a book signing, mirror the person that you’re speaking to; if they’re not using gestures, then you shouldn’t. If they’re a bit on the quieter side, you should be too. The opposite is true too. But be aware that mimicking is NOT the same as mirroring. Mimicking is insulting and offensive.
  3. Trust. Quite frankly, we trust people who are just like us. We feel like they understand us and that we can be ourselves around them, and that they hold the same values as we do without even saying so. By mirroring our readers, we subconsciously tell them that they can trust us to make the right book recommendation, take our course, or sign up for our free newsletter.

I’m not advising anyone ever to use mirroring as a manipulation tactic. Mirroring is a valuable tool to connect with your readers and let them know that you’re a friendly expert who can be trusted to recommend a great book!

Posted on Leave a comment

Too Fast, Too slow, Just Right

July 15, 2021- As we continue our theme of public speaking for authors this month, I’d be doing you a great disservice if I didn’t touch on something that seems obvious-speed.

I’m not talking about the action movie; I’m talking about the speed of your speech! Here are four tips that will help you perfect your next presentation:

  1. Too slowly. If you speak too slowly when talking to your audience, you’ll risk putting them to sleep. A regular, conversational tone and pace are best. Remember to use pitch and inflection to keep your audience engaged. Visualize that you’re speaking with a friend; this is the correct pace to use.
  2. Too quickly. If you speak too fast, people will not understand you or the message you’re trying to convey. We all know people like this, and the ridiculous pace at which they speak is obnoxious when you’re trying to figure out what in the world they’re talking about. Plus, speaking too quickly makes your audience deem you less intelligent.
  3. Consider the pause. To hammer home the main points you want to make during your presentation, consider pausing for three seconds after asking a question or making a statement and don’t shy away from using a pause for effect. Short, calculated pauses allow your audience to digest what you’re saying. Don’t go all William Shatner on your audience, though; they’ll pay more attention to how you say things rather than what you’re saying!
  4. No Mumbling. Articulate your words, annunciate in the right places, and don’t use words that you’re unsure about the meaning of. Yes, people do this all the time to make themselves seem more intelligent. Don’t do this; you’ll only end up embarrassing yourself! Mumbling makes you come across as insecure, shy, and less than the expert you are.

Tone, pitch, cadence, words, and body language are essential to giving a great speech as an author. Stay tuned as we continue to dive into this subject for July!

Posted on Leave a comment

Speech Writing (Part 2) The Mechanics

July 14, 2021-Yesterday we talked about best practices when preparing for your speaking engagement and the overall attitude you should have when publicly speaking. Today we’re focusing on the mechanics of speech writing. Let’s get started!

To write an engaging, informative, and interesting speech, here are 5 tips to help you:

  1. Clear, relevant message. What do you want your audience to take home from your speech? What action do you want them to take? What do you want to teach them? What should they remember? The clearer you are about these points, the more relevant and targeted your message is, the more valuable your talk is to your audience.
  2. Outline. Just like writing a book, a speech is no different. You must begin with an outline to keep you organized and allow you to make your point effectively. Your speech should have an introduction, a middle, and an ending that includes a call to action such as purchasing your book, or signing up for your newsletter, or booking their spot at your next workshop.
  3. Storytelling. People remember stories when relaying and recalling information. Stories make a big, memorable impact when told properly and when details are remarkable, shocking, inspiring, or heartwarming. Make sure that the story in your speech is repeatable and sharable. Ask yourself if it’s buzzworthy! If not, leave it out.
  4. No PowerPoint. Powerpoint is dead. So are cue cards. Yep, it’s time that you memorized your speech, and when you get good enough at it and have practiced and given the speech several times, you won’t need to use anything as a crutch or distraction. The fact is, the more data, PowerPoint slides, and notes you use, the more amateurish you look to your audience. You look like less of an expert. Plus, slides and data are usually boring, and you want your speech to stand out and make a memorable impact.
  5. Keep it Simple. Don’t use eight words when four will do (please write this on my gravestone) and leave the complicated language out. When delivering your lecture, the more superfluous you are, the more disinclined your audience will be to acquiesce to your request of paying attention to your speech. See what I mean? Don’t use a word salad to make yourself seem intelligent; the only thing that does is make your audience disengage.

Here’s the formula: 

Interesting fact for your audience (did you know?) to immediately grab their attention—-jump into a story—-get to your main points—-wrap everything up with a bow—-call to action—answer audience questions—call to action again.

Write your speech and practice, practice, practice!

Posted on Leave a comment

Speech Writing (Part 1) Best Practices

July 13, 2021-We’re talking about public speaking this month, and we’ve got some great tips to share for authors! Speech writing 101 (Best Practices) is what we’re focusing on today, but let me begin with a story.

I was in Boston for a writer’s conference where the speaker was a breakout author who hit number 1 on the NY Times bestseller list and had a host of new followers who were excited to hear her speak. I’ll never forget what happened next; she entered the packed conference room and took her place on centre stage; she smiled and said, “This is my time.” And for the next two hours, the audience listened to her drone on and on about pointless details and self-indulgent tangents. I observed the crowd from my seat at the back of the room and quickly noted that the audience was gone-she no longer had their attention. Let’s make one thing crystal clear; this isn’t your time, it’s your audience’s time, and they are spending it voluntarily listening to you speak.  Don’t disappoint them by talking about things that don’t matter to them or that glorify you and make you come off as arrogant, conceited, and insufferable. Now, let’s get down to it; here are 5 things you need to know about speech writing best practices for authors.

  1. Be memorable. Make an impression with your audience. I usually like to be memorable not only by my speech/presentation but by something I’m wearing. Maybe I’ll wear all black with my neon yellow pair of pointed stilettos, a stunning statement necklace, or a signature red lip. You can be memorable in so many different ways, including adding theatrics, comedy, or anecdotes. Be aware that people remember stories! So tell some that are relevant for your presentation.
  2. Be organized. There’s nothing worse than listening to a speaker who goes off on a tangent. You have no idea where they’re going with their presentation, and they usually don’t revisit the main point they were trying to make because they’ve forgotten. Organize the points you want to make and ensure that they’re useful and valuable to your audience. Just like writing a novel, you want an intro (start where the action is), middle (main points or the ‘plot’ of your speech), an ending that wraps everything up with a bow.
  3. Come out swinging. Don’t waste the opening of your speech; this is your chance to grab your audience’s attention and make an impact. Yes, there are people to thank, and you’ll want to introduce yourself. Still, the truth is…no one cares who you are-they care about what information you can give them to make them better writers,  and that you entertain them,  inspire them and make them feel like they got something of value by listening to you speak and that they didn’t waste their time.
  4. Know your audience. What are you speaking on, and who are the people listening? What do they want to know? What do they want to learn? Put yourself in their shoes. Are you capturing their attention and providing value by talking about yourself and your accomplishments the entire time? No, of course not.  Listen to your speech from their perspective so that you can decide if what you’ve written is educational, entertaining, inspiring, and captivating.
  5. Be relatable. Nothing is worse than a presenter who has a chip on their shoulder or has their nose in the air. Your audience doesn’t come to you to feel bad about themselves or less than. Stop stroking your ego by using your platform for self-indulgent bs. It’s not about you; it’s about them and why they came to hear you speak in the first place. I was in a class once taught by a man who thought he could impress the room by telling us that he was gifted a Rolex while on a spiritual journey in the Tibetian mountains (I’m not even kidding!). What Rolex’s have to do with a spiritual journey still stumps me, but even more so, what those two things had to do with constructing a killer plot, were even more confusing. Be authentic, be yourself, and be relatable.

Stay tuned tomorrow when we continue with part 2 of this post, where we’ll dive into the writing part of how to write a speech. See you then!

Posted on Leave a comment

Benefits of Public Speaking

July 12, 2021-I hope you’re enjoying our theme this month of public speaking for authors and that you’re learning a lot!

Today we’ll talk about 3 benefits of public speaking for authors, let’s dive in:

1) Career advancement-You never know who will be in your audience! Maybe there’s a new client, a new reader, or someone that can book you for a speaking engagement at their company. The possibilities are endless and overnight your career can advance if you put on an engaging, exciting, and interactive chat. Plus, public speaking is a great way to build credibility as an author and be seen as an expert in your field.

2) Boost Confidence-By doing the things that scare us the most (public speaking for 90% of people), our confidence grows. Public speaking is just the thing that can take authors out of their comfort zones and help them grow and flourish in their writing careers. We turn our weaknesses into strengths by pushing the limits of what we find uncomfortable and doing it despite the discomfort.

3) Better Writing-Preparing a speech or developing a presentation is no easy feat even though we are professional writers. We need to have a message, but we also need to tailor that message to meet the needs of our audience so that they get a ton of value from what we’re saying. By sitting down and working out the details of our speech, we become better writers who are more concise, fluid, and organized in our thoughts and what we need to accomplish.

You can open yourself up to a whole world of opportunity, by publicly speaking as an author, that can quite literally take you and your books around the globe. Tomorrow, we’ll talk about how to write a speech and best practices. Stay tuned!