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Fear Hierarchy

July 26, 2021– This week, we’ll be wrapping up Public Speaking for authors, which was our theme for July! Today we’re going to focus on something really cool that I had no idea existed until a few days ago; let’s dig into Fear Hierarchy and how authors can use it to overcome their fears of public speaking!

What is Fear Hierarchy? It’s defined as a list of fears in order of least afraid to most afraid with the goal of exposure to the situations to dispel the fears listed. As you immerse yourself and check your list off one by one, your confidence will grow, and you’ll be speaking in public as an expert in no time!

Sample hierarchy list: (Remember, this has to be unique to you! Write your list from least to most afraid)

  1. Read an article out loud to a friend. A newspaper or short article from a magazine will suffice.
  2. Ask a question. Next time you’re at a meeting, conference, or retreat, raise your hand and ask a question.
  3. Make a toast. When you’re out to dinner with family or friends, make a short, impromptu toast to celebrate being in each other’s company and enjoying your time together.
  4. Host a book club talk. By hosting book club, you’ll get to dig into subjects that matter to your participants. Maybe you want to talk about plot structure, setting, or character development, but whatever you choose, leading the talk will help you practice speaking to a larger group with a clear idea in mind.
  5. Speak to a small group about a subject you’re passionate about. Maybe it’s in a library setting, at a local chapter of crime writers, or a writing group of up-and-coming authors who are interested in publishing children’s books. Testing your skills in a small group is less intimidating than standing on stage in front of hundreds of people. This will let you test the water, answer real questions, and interact with your listeners.
  6. Host a workshop or class based on your knowledge. Now it’s time for the big show! You’re the featured speaker, and this is the thing that scares you most on your list! By now, you’ve had some great exposure and are ready to share your knowledge with your audience confidently.

Make a fear hierarchy of your own and expose yourself to the public speaking situations that intimidate you. Before you know it, you’ll be an old pro who has no fear of getting up on stage and saying your piece!

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TED’s Secret to Great Public Speaking

July 22, 2021– Today I thought we’d enjoy a change of pace and watch an educational and engaging TEDTalk on Public Speaking (authors, great tips in here, take note!) Let’s watch and listen as Ted Anderson explains the secret to great public speaking.  https://www.ted.com/talks/chris_anderson_ted_s_secret_to_great_public_speaking?utm_campaign=tedspread&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=tedcomshare

 

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

 

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Money, Money, Money, Money, Money, from Public Speaking

July 9, 2021– Today, we’re talking about money! Let me back up for a second and explain a bit further; we’re talking about using public speaking as an author to add an additional revenue stream to your writing career. Public speaking as an author is not only a marketing tool; it’s a money-making opportunity.

As authors, we get paid in many different ways (royalties, freelance pieces, book sales, advances, etc.,) but why not add public speaking to your arsenal of income? Not only can you charge a speaking fee, but if you have your books, courses, or workshops for sale at the back of the room, you can earn even more!

You may be wondering where you can find speaking opportunities as an author; let me help! Here are five great places to start:

  1. Libraries-Some libraries will pay you to offer a talk or a class on your specific area of expertise. Reach out to your local library and let them know what you offer and why people would be interested in learning more. Over the years, I’ve welcomed several new clients to my business by giving workshops on self-publishing and relevant topics at libraries in my city.
  2. Elementary/High School visits– At Pandamonium Publishing House, we charge for author visits. Why? Because we bring a ton of value to the classroom! We talk about age-appropriate topics such as setting, plots, and character development. For the older kids, we add subject matter of relevant interest, such as the business of books, publishing behind the scenes, and my favourite topic, which is book marketing. We donate a copy (or copies) of our book to the school library, and we bring fun activities such as word searches, spot the difference, and colouring pages!
  3. Universities and Colleges– I’ve had so many fantastic opportunities to speak to college and university students across Canada, both in-person and virtually. Talking to budding authors and illustrators in Writer’s Craft/English classes is a rewarding experience for not only me but for them too! They get a taste of the publishing industry and what’s up and coming in the book business, as well as trends in the marketplace, tips on how to get hired by a publishing company, and what employers in the industry are looking for.
  4. Community Events– Writing retreats, weekend workshops, and masterclasses often hire guest speakers, so why shouldn’t it be you that’s getting paid to speak on what you’re an expert in? Seek out events that match your genre, interests, and passions. Remember to bring your A-game so you’ll be invited back. Word of mouth spreads, and if you do a stellar job, your public speaking calendar will fill up fast!
  5. Industry Associations and their events-Are you a member of a writing association, club, or group? Do they have different guest speakers each week? Some great places to explore for earning public speaking revenue include Chambers of Commerce, professional associations, and corporations. Perhaps you’ve written a book on wellness principles that deal with stress relief and mindfulness; high profile executives have a lot on their plate, and those responsibilities come with a ton of stress. You could reach out to the companies in your city to offer to present some helpful tips to remain mindful, calm, and organized to their employees. Bring your book and program with you to sell at the back of the room.

Don’t sell yourself short! Public speaking opportunities for authors are endless; you just have to know where to look.

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Umm…Uhh…You Know…

July 8, 2021- I watched a YouTube video once of a veterinarian and was advising on how to care for a dog or check for fleas or something like that; I can’t quite remember; but what I do remember is how many times she said the words umm, uhh, and you know. Twenty-seven times in a five-minute and thirty-three-second video. TWENTY-SEVEN TIMES. Don’t let this happen to you!

Lots of authors stumble over their words during public speaking for several reasons. Maybe it’s nerves? Perhaps it’s being unprepared? Maybe it’s a lack of understanding on the subject being spoken? Whatever the reason is, there’s no place for it in your speech or presentation. Yes, we all make mistakes, but it’s different when it’s being repeated multiple times.

How can you ensure that your next talk is error-free and that you’re not tripping over your words or saying too many of the same in one sentence? Here are three tips:

  1. Record yourself. Either by video or voice recording, one of the best ways to find out if you’re repetitious, dull, or using filler words like umm and uhh is to record yourself! Play it back and see if you’re engaging your audience, that your tone and pitch are on point, and that your energy and enthusiasm are palpable.
  2. Audience. Enlist the help of an audience, even if it’s just one person! They’ll let you know where room for improvement lies in your speech and if it was exciting and held their attention. Take their feedback constructively and choose someone who is going to give you an honest opinion.
  3. Cut the fat. Get rid of the filler words. Filler words are what we use when we panic and are buying our brain time. Some of them include um, uh, you know, like, well, kind of, sort of, like I said and so on. Filler words distract your audience, primarily when used excessively throughout your speech or presentation. The audience now focuses on the filler words rather than the valuable information they came to hear you speak on.

Use these tips to your advantage and continue to join us all month as we talk about Public Speaking for Authors!