There’s no magic answer to this question, but here are some things to consider.
Some people speak so they can write books. Others write books so they can speak. Which one are you? Either way, writers must make the most of every speaking opportunity. Why? Because building a speaking platform depends upon how well you speak.
Fear of public speaking ranks number one in the minds of most Americans. Many of us would rather have a root canal than give a 10 minute speech. Writers, in particular, are usually more comfortable behind a computer screen than on a TV screen or stage.
If you’re publisher is pushing you to get out there, or you want to expand your sphere of influence, then these speaking tips are for you.
- GET HELP. Learn to speak and speak well. Speaking platforms are built by word of mouth. Do a good job speaking at a small event like a church group or book club and you’ll make connections that will get you invited to other events. Do a poor job of speaking and end your speaking career. Take speech classes, hire a speech coach, or ask your local high school speech teacher to tutor you. If you don’t have access to professional help, video yourself. Watch for irritating mannerisms like saying “uh, uh, uh” or putting your hair behind your ear.
- TALK ABOUT WHAT YOU KNOW. If you’re passionate about something, it’s easier to communicate authentically to your audience.
- PRACTICE. If you’re really new to the speaking podium, write your speech out word for word. Eliminate repetitive phrases. Make sure you have a point. Find a good joke, illustration, or story to support your point. Then print out your speech. Cut it up and paste the pieces onto numbered 3×5 notecards. Read your script over and over to yourself and out loud (I’m not saying memorize but rather familiarize). Practice in front of the mirror. You’ll be amazed at how much more comfortable you’ll feel in front of an audience if you’ve prepared. My college speech professor said, “If you’ve prepared, then you’ve earned the right to speak.”
Building a speaking platform is like learning to dance…you must learn the steps before you can waltz around the room.
SixMinutes is a great public speaking blog I suggest you follow. Here’s a sample of the high quality information they offer.