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)
- Read an article out loud to a friend. A newspaper or short article from a magazine will suffice.
- Ask a question. Next time you’re at a meeting, conference, or retreat, raise your hand and ask a question.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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!
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
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!
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:
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
July 7, 2021– We’re a week into our theme this month, all about Public Speaking for Authors! I love this topic not only because of its importance but also because of how practical it is. When it comes down to brass tacks, authors need to employ many different methods to get themselves and their work in front of their readers. Our biggest problem as authors is obscurity; if people don’t know who we are or what we’ve written, how can they possibly buy our books? Here’s the thing, people buy YOU first, then they buy your books. There’s no understating the importance of connecting with your audience, and that’s why today, we’re going to talk about in-store book signings.
You may not think that an in-store book signing has anything to do with public speaking, but you couldn’t be more off base! They go hand in hand. Every single time you’re in front of the public promoting your book in any way, shape, or form, you’re practicing the art of public speaking. Yes, you can be speaking to one person at a time or a group of people, but it’s all fish from the same kettle.
Here are three tips to help you connect with your audience at your book signing:
- Be authentic. There’s nothing worse than watching someone be who they’re not. Authenticity is the key to every area of our lives, and folks can see right through people who try to fake things. Don’t try to be what you think people want you to be. Be who you are, embrace your wonderful/unique qualities, and let your light shine. When at your signing, tell people what you love most about being an author, tell them what the hardest part is, tell them the challenges and triumphs you’ve overcome in your writing life. Be real.
- Tell your story. People love to know why you do what you do and how you got there. They like to feel like insiders with insider information. They want to know why you wrote your book and if it’s based on anyone in your real life. The more that you can give them, the more special they feel. Talk to them about what got you started as an author, which characters you connect with in your book, and what you’re working on next. EVERYTHING is about relationship building, and public speaking is a great way to do that, no matter the size of the audience.
- It’s all about energy. There’s a particular person who works at the Starbucks that I go to, and I only frequent that location because they’re there. Their attitude is unmatched, they love what they do, and it shows, and they are so upbeat and enthusiastic that I can’t help but feel the same way after they give me my coffee. Their happiness and energy are contagious. When you’re at your book signing, remember that people can feel your energy even before you open your mouth to speak. They can see your demeanour, they can tell if you’re in a bad mood, and they notice if you’re less than excited about being there. How would you feel if you walked into a bookstore and saw that the author was there sitting behind a table and not even lifting their head to acknowledge you because they were on their phone or reading a book to pass the time? (Yes, this is a real example, and I’ve seen it a hundred times). You would think, “What the heck are they doing here?” “Why are they wasting their time?” “Is that an employee?” We all have crappy days, and some are worse than others, but it’s important to remember that you’re an author, and you get the opportunity to speak to people about your passion! You’ve got the best job in the world, and you’ve created something out of thin air and turned it into physical form. That sounds like magic to me!
The point is that people buy YOU first, and then they buy your book; make a connection and, quite possibly, some new friends!
July 6, 2021-Public Speaking can be very intimidating as an author (most of us are introverts who shun the spotlight) and here’s where author mindset comes in. Sometimes when we go up in front of crowds, audiences or people at book signings, we feel very much under the microscope, like we’re an imposter or that we don’t really have a handle on what we’re talking about. Public speaking can seem like a daunting task, but there’s good news! Public speaking is a learnable skill. Here’s how you can start and sustain (which is equally important) your public speaking career as an author:
- What are you an expert in? Maybe you know everything there is to know about self-publishing storybooks. Maybe you’re an expert in marketing your self-published book. Perhaps you’ve hit the best-sellers list. Whatever it is, you offer a unique perspective! To supercharge the expertise that you have, niche it down even further (if the topic is too narrow, don’t worry, you can broaden your scope later). For example, maybe you studied marketing in school, and you have a background in consumer neuromarketing (I’m using myself as an example). Give a talk on Consumer Neuromarketing and Why it Matters for Self-Published Authors. This leads directly into point two below…
- Identify your target audience. Who are you speaking to, and why would they benefit from it? What type of author needs to hear your message? (We defined it as self-published above), Where do they live? Do they write full time, or do they work for someone and writing is their side hustle? The more clearly you can define your target audience (essential for ALL marketing), the better.
- Education and Practice. Make these your two best friends, because with both of them combined, there’s nothing you can’t do! Educate yourself on your topics, your stage presence, your tone, pitch, and speed, watch YouTube videos of some of the greatest professional presenters/speakers and continue to hone your skills, sharpen them by practicing as much as possible. Take courses, classes, and workshops to glean techniques from those who captivate you during their presentation. There’s nothing worse than sitting through a two-hour presentation or weekend workshop given by someone who is boring and an impassionate speaker.
Stay tuned this month as we dole out more tips on Public Speaking for Authors and go further down the rabbit hole of how public speaking can open new doors you’ve never dreamed of!
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.