How Public Speaking Can Boost Your Author Profile
Whether you are on the path towards writing a book or have already written one (or more), a big question to consider is how will people find out about you and your book. What will draw them to you and entice them to read your published work?
While there are many possible answers to this question, I have found that public speaking is one of the most effective ways to share a message and to encourage people to seek out further information. It’s helped me share my own book with people all around the world, as well as boosting the profiles and sales of many other authors across all disciplines.
It’s also the foundation of many events organised by and for authors, from book readings to seminars, to keynote speaking, workshops, interviews and TEDX talks.
So what is it about public speaking that makes it so effective for authors?
On one level, public speaking is an opportunity for you to connect with people directly, as an open forum. It’s a way to introduce yourself, to share your knowledge, wisdom and experiences so that people can best connect with you. And that personal connection, what you have in common with others, is the first step towards sharing your book with more and more people.
Through this process, you also establish yourself as an author with passion and credibility in a specific area – as well as on specific topics. The act of public speaking is, in a sense, a way of revealing your roots so that people can appreciate what you stand for, from the ground up. This is the other level to public speaking, the “bigger picture”, where the act of sharing yourself in public also helps your profile as an author come alive and flourish. Through taking a stand in communicating your unique EDGE on your specialised topic, you bring to life and Energise, and Dramatize, ‘Gistify’ & Evoke interest from your audience to want to know more – to purchase your book and engage your professional services in what they now perceive you can do for them.
Public Speaking Tips For Authors
Through my many years of work in communications, I have experienced first-hand a wide range of fears and concerns about public speaking. The coaching techniques I’ve developed and explore in my own book – Get Up, Stand Up For Your Life – can be applied whether you are an author, artist, corporate executive, team member, entrepreneur – or simply someone with a passion, commitment or aspiration for public speaking.
Here are three key things I often share with my new clients as a way to help them develop an authentic presentation style for any public speaking event.
1. Find your voice
In writing, people often talk about finding your “voice” – a reference to your particular style of writing and the way you share your messages on the page.
Public speaking invites a similar process of exploration to find your voice. This is both your literal voice, utilising your vocal chords, diaphragm and physicality, as well as your unique way of speaking out the messages you want to share – bringing your “mage from the page to the stage”.
Why is it important to find your voice?
When you find your voice, people are eager to hear what you have to say.
When you find your voice, you command attention with every verbal word you speak, every vocal sound you make, every visual gesture you create.
When you find your voice, the 3V’s that represent the pillars holding up the temple of communication – the Verbal, Vocal and Visual elements – make more sense, impact and effectiveness when expressed, aligned and integrated together.
How can you find your voice? One way would be to speak to a close friend or authority you can trust about a subject you’re passionate about, and notice how there’s a corresponding resounding ‘resonance in the residence’ of the landscape of your body.
As you speak from a deeply felt place of authority, there’s a depth of sound that emanates and radiates from your guts and pelvic basin, rather than sounding breathy at times when you are disconnected from your body, or at times when raspy sounds are heard coming from the throat.
Coming to recognise your deepest knowing in this way, speaking your most passionate ideas becomes an easy, elegant process through which your spoken words become freely, fully flowing.
2. Connect to your audience
Remember that your audience is there for a reason. If the event follows a particular theme, you may be able to connect with them through that theme. More importantly, remember that when we speak from the heart, from an open place, it invites people to also open up and connect with what you are sharing. It is vital before your presentation to do a bit of audience research, as well, and understand the psychographic needs, wants and questions that the audience members are likely to be asking as you stand there in front of them – sharing your wisdom, knowledge and experience.
Here’s a tangible tip you can put into immediate action in your next presentation to best connect a live audience. Whether or not there’s time at the end of your presentation for a Q&A, a “Question & Answer” period, it would be wise for you to research what most difficult and challenging questions you might be asked before you even give your speech. Then, throughout the body of your presentation, you can tune into the minds of those listening by asking questions out loud such as: “One of the most difficult questions people often ask me is…” Some variations of this phrase are: “Another challenging question people often ask me is…” and “One of the most commonly asked questions I am often asked is…”
Of course, you will also answer each of these questions out loud, as through you were answering one of the audience members who might have otherwise been asking you the question themselves. It makes sense to adopt a different posture, voice tone, and way of moving as you answer each separate question to maximise the vitality, engagement and interactive nature of your presentation. Even asking such open-ended, participatory questions out loud builds interest in your topic, and subliminally encourages those listening to want to know more. By asking questions yourself and speaking in this style of involving the audience, the audience members will be more actively intrigued with what you have to say and interested to know more about your book and ways they can benefit from working with you in some capacity.
Why is it important to connect to your audience?
When you connect to your audience, you are developing rapport and a true spirit of caring, through which your relationship with the audience will make it easier to speak in a conversational tone and dialogue, rather than a lecture tone which can be seen as condescending.
When individuals from the audience feel that you are speaking to them and with them directly, they also feel that they are as important to your presentation as the material and content you are downloading to them. Rather than feeling you are talking down to them as some expert like Moses who has descended from the mountain and is pontificating his teaches talking down to the masses, they feel instead that they matter; that they are equal to you, and appreciate your sharing your heart-felt humanity from a place of “I am like you, I’ve experienced similar problems and hardships I’ve had to overcome, just like you…And here’s what I’ve done to breakthrough, that you may find useful, too.
This is the essence of relationship-based speaking, and differs from podium or lecture-based teaching in the interactive engagement and participatory connection that makes it easier for all to hear, understand and remember your message.
3. Believe in yourself
Self-belief and confidence are powerful qualities to have in every facet of our lives. In public speaking, these elements convey knowledge and wisdom, and develop a sense of trust and belief.
A good way to start developing more belief in yourself is through the use of written and spoken affirmations.
In my book, I have a simple exercise for public speaking that uses an affirmation to help connect all three of these tips I’ve described above, using the affirmation: “It is easy for me to reach people with my voice”. Start by simply stating it. At first, to practice fully embodying this renewing self-talk and mission statement, notice the difference when you:
• SHOUT this statement
• Sing it out
• whisper it ~ Are your gestures ‘louder’ when your voice is softer?
• Say it sitting down
• Say it, standing in one place
• Say it, shifting your weight slightly forward
• Say it, moving around as you speak
The more you can “think on your feet” in these ways outlined above, the more facile you will become in matching your verbal message with your physical delivery. “Walking your talk” in this way will also assist you to develop a consistent choreography of communication, so the words you speak match the movements you make – so what you say is punctuated by the way you move and stand with varying postures and positions – revealing the points you make and your points-of-view.
This practice is a simple and efficient way for you to prepare your audience to understand your message better, as you become accustomed to “showing what you are telling”. Those who listen and watch you speaking will remember your message far better as you speak in ways that connect with them multi modes of sensory impact
Exploring this simple and powerful affirmation with your voice and body is a great way to discover your voice for public speaking, encourage open-hearted communication and develop more belief in yourself – a stand of command in your land, so to speak I invite you to practice it when you’re next preparing for a public speaking event or presentation, and notice the difference it makes in enhancing your influence, effectiveness and impact – so others take action following what you say.