July 21, 2021– This month, we’re talking about Public Speaking for authors! We’ve got an excellent method to share with you to help you put your speech together quickly and effectively without getting stuck when thinking of ideas to speak on.
The most important piece of advice that I can give you when speaking to the public is to pick a topic that you’re passionate about! There’s nothing more captivating than watching someone talk about something they care about and are fully invested in; their excitement and enthusiasm leap off the stage and inspire others.
When developing your presentation, most authors start brainstorming just like they do before they write a book. Speech writing is no different; it’s like a condensed version of a novel! After you choose your topic, write a one-sentence description of the purpose of your speech. What are you trying to achieve? What do you want your audience to get out of it? What do you want them to do next?
Then, write down 13 talking points. Let’s do an example:
You are speaking to a group of people that are interested in self-publishing. You’re a self-published author that has ten books under your belt, and you’ve had a couple of best-sellers. You’ve decided that your topic is How to Write and Publish a Best-Selling Thriller Novel. Note how specific the subject is. By being so precise in what you’re speaking about, you know that every person in the audience is there because they want to know how to write and publish a thriller novel that is a best-seller. You’ve niched it down and have identified your target market beautifully.
Your thirteen talking points could include:
- The difference between a thriller and a mystery.
- How to outline your novel.
- How to develop characters.
- How to create a killer plot.
- How to wrap up your book with a bow.
- The importance of dialogue.
- Self-publishing platforms.
- What makes a best-selling thriller.
- How to develop your book for print.
- How to develop your book as an e-book.
- Meta-data and the importance of tagging and categorizing.
- How to get your self-published book into major chains and bookstores.
- The importance of author platform and social media for authors.
After you’ve compiled your list of thirteen topics, consider how much time you have to speak to your audience. Then, choose only FIVE topics from the list you made above to focus on (if you have an hour to speak) or THREE topics to talk about if you have half an hour to present.
Beside each talking point, list ideas, statistics, examples, phrases, and stories that you can use in your speech. You’ll find yourself with a great outline that flows nicely and allows your listeners to learn seamlessly.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!