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!
January 14, 2019- As authors know, occasionally we must give lectures about our books or our work. Public speaking is something that we should be used to by now because we’ve been preparing speeches since we were kids. Public speaking doesn’t have to be scary and it doesn’t have to be scarier than death, (I’m not kidding when I say that people would rather choose death than to stand in front of a crowd and talk…seems crazy to me!) because here’s all you need to know to successfully speak in public.
Prep your stuff. Chances are that you know what you’re talking about when you’re speaking on your profession or when talking about your book, but It’s always good to prepare in advance in case the butterflies make you lose your mind and forget everything you’ve ever known. A couple of index cards are great when giving a formal speech with some notes jotted down in point form, or when speaking about your book, practice what you’re going to say or read (like an excerpt from your work).
Vocal power. Speak slowly, pause, breathe, and smile. The last thing you want to do is come across as incoherent. Remember that episode from Seinfeld with the low talker and the close talker? Don’t do either of these things. Speak slowly, clearly, and loud enough so that the audience at the back of the room can hear you. If you’re nervous about speaking in public already, the worst thing to happen is for someone to shout from the back of the room, “WE CAN’T HEAR YOU!” Cue red cheeks and sweat stains. Remain calm and speak with confidence and power.
Listen. When the question period of your lecture comes, be sure to listen to what your readers/clients/associates are asking you. Pause a few seconds before you answer and never, ever interrupt when someone is asking you a question. Make your questioner feel good and avoid making negative associations. Don’t make them feel bad or wrong and watch your body language. You’ll have your fair share of dumb questions, but keep those feelings to yourself. We’ve all asked a dumb question at one time or another!
So, get out there and tell the world about what you do and what you’ve written! They deserve to know how awesome you are. X LLB
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