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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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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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You’re About to get Lectured on Your Lecture…

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.

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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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Why You Should Diversify…

October 22, 2018– As authors, sometimes we leave a lot of stones unturned especially while first starting out. It can be scary to make the leap from full-time whatever to full-time writer, it’s a massive leap of faith, financially, emotionally, mentally, and socially.

Here are three ways to generate income while still working on your next great Canadian/American/Wherever you’re from, novel.

  1. Editing services. Chances are if you’re a writer, you can edit pretty well especially if it’s someone else’s work. Editing our own stuff is the hard part. Check into your area to see how much others are charging for this service and price your services accordingly.
  2. Public Speaking. Yes, you need to charge for this because what you have to say is important. The list of topics to talk about is endless. As an author, you could speak about establishing a writing routine, how to outline a novel, how to make money on the side while writing, side hustling, as I like to call it, and of course, where ideas come from while writing. Everyone is an expert on something, and people will pay to hear your advice.
  3. Copy Writing. No, not copyright-ing, the other one. Writing copy is important for ALL businesses, and as a writer, you’re a fountain of words. Use your wordsmith skills to generate copy for companies and to fund your bank account. Look for real estate agents, restaurants, law offices, and wherever else you think your services could be used effectively.

Of course, this is not a complete list by any means, and there are a TON of other ideas to generate income. The only limit is your imagination, and as an author, we know that this is NOT in short supply! Find ways to get creative and make the income you need to keep writing! Here’s to your success! X LLB

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