How do you feel about public speaking? For introverts it’s like standing naked in front of a crowd of strangers. Conversely, extroverts love the stage, the applause, the chance to share their thoughts and visions. No matter where you are on the introvert/extrovert scale, find your comfort zone regarding being in public. Unless you want to go the way of the dinosaur, you need to find your way to promote and market your books. As a publicist, we help our authors secure talks, lectures, and workshops, all of which are all ideal ways an author can both promote their book and create positive and strong income streams.
The list of what you can speak about includes the content of the book, the process of writing the book, and the research behind the book. The key to being paid for your efforts is to be the public speaker organizations want, and the rock star audiences love. Simply be a better speaker than what people expect, and you will rock your next speech or talk.
First of all, stop giving speeches. Really. Ditch the PowerPoint slide show, the notes of what you think the audience wants to hear. Instead, start telling stories. People don’t like to be talked at, and they really hate being forced to listen to things they can’t relate to, or reading PowerPoint slides while you talk. Your stories need to have four things: humor, relatability, a point, and an instruction.
Humor: It’s a classic way to open a talk, and it’s classic for a reason. Humor and laughing relax people. When they relax, they are more open to hearing what you have to say. Find a way to bring humor into your opening, whether you use a Laugha Yoga exercise or share a joke from your favorite comedian. Or, even better, find a way to laugh at yourself.
Relatability: People are attending because they want to hear from you. Be yourself. In our humanness, we have our falls and our foibles, our moments of great joy and grief. When your audience can imagine themselves as players in the story you’re telling, they become an invested audience who wants to hear more. And, in being authentic, you will be memorable.
Illustrate Your Point: We tell our non-fiction authors to hone in on one core point, and we tell our fiction clients to find the “real world” application in their books. Have you written a fiction book where the heroine fights back against bullies? Have you written your memoir that inspires people to overcome obstacles? What do you want people to walk away feeling? Hold to that feeling as you concentrate on your message.
Instruction: Instead of telling people that stopping bullies does X or Y show themthe same stat with something relevant to them. Share a story about how stopping bullies improved someone’s life. Instead of talking about how inspirational you are and then they could be also, show them the way to inspiration. What are the steps you took to get to where you are today?
Please remember this: Having an audience is a privilege, not a right. It’s like never actually interacting with your readers and expecting them to show up at events you host. Why should you matter to them if you don’t demonstrate you care about who they are and what they say.
We emphasize to our authors that having readers and attendees to their events is a privilege that they’ve earned. They can lose that privilege just as quickly. We suggest they respect their audience. Try to reach them in a way that helps them learn, improves their lives, and makes them leave with a smile as well. We guarantee our authors that if they focus on doing those three things, that their future speeches will rock their listeners and have them asking for more.
© Mari Selby, June 2017
MARI SELBY founded Selby ink in 1998 after working for a small publisher where she was successful in improving their sales from 20,000 books to over 100,000 books in one year. Prior to being a publicist Mari was a family therapist in private practice for almost 20 years.