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  Public Speaking
   
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You are more than likely aware of the importance of growing your author platform. One of the best ways to do this isUse public speaking to build your author platform. through public speaking, because it puts you in front of multiple people at one time. Presentations, book signings and readings, and interviews are important ways for authors to build and connect with their platforms. Although speaking skills are becoming increasingly essential to their ultimate success, not every author is a natural speaker. If you believe conventional wisdom, the average person is more terrified of public speaking than of dying. If this fear sounds familiar, you'll have to do some prep work before you make the decision to put speaking to work for you.

 

As with almost anything, practice and familiarity are crucial for you to become a successful speaker. Toastmasters is a great place to cut your speaking teeth. With its program of 10 beginner speaking projects, membership in a Toastmasters club near you virtually guarantees you the opportunity to get the practice you'll need to calm your nerves so that you can comfortably take the stage. Not to mention that it's affordable - and Toastmasters is largely considered one of the best networking opportunities in the country.

 

Public speaking is more than just giving presentations, though; it also encompasses the ability to answer unanticipated questions expertly and efficiently. And it's likely that the better you get at public speaking, the better you will be in one-on-one situations, like pitching sessions or interviews.

     
 
 Tips to help you begin your speaking career
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Do your research. You receive the call you've been waiting for: your first request to speak to a local organization. Woo-hoo — you're on your way! What's the first thing you do? Take as much time as necessary to do some research about your audience. Learn about the group and its members. Who are they? What business(es) are they in? How familiar are they with your topic? Which aspects of your presentation will most resonate with them? Answering these questions as early as possible will help you develop a targeted presentation that your audience will remember, appreciate, and tell their friends about!

 

Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Although you can almost never be too prepared for a presentation, there are two schools of thought on how you prepare. Some advocate memorizing the speech from start to finish and rehearsing until you can do it on autopilot. Others prefer to hone their opening and conclusion with precision, but simply commit to memory the main points of the rest of the talk. Though this may be a skill reserved for more accomplished or naturally gifted speakers, it can allow for a more relaxed, authentic presentation. Either way, you'll want to do your research and craft your presentation well in advance of the date of the event. Be sure to time yourself to see how long it takes for you to deliver the material and allow questions and interaction with the audience. One hallmark of a professional speaker is that they can start and end on time.

 

Video yourself. If you don't have a video camera, get one. And if you don't have a YouTube channel, create one. Then record yourself while practicing your speech and watch the film like athletes watch game tapes. Study your presentation for nervous tics, unduly long pauses, unnecessary or distracting hand gestures, repeated catch phrases, and any other bad habits you may not notice. Do your best to eliminate these before your actual presentation. Then, ask if you will be able to record the presentation in front of the group. Most grops are happy to oblige, but don't get upset if they say no for any reason. Then, (hire someone to) edit the video down to a 2- to 3-minute spot and post it on your YoutTube channel. Be sure to include your contact info.

 

Decide: To PowerPoint or NOT to PowerPoint? PowerPoint has become an ubitquitous tool for speakers, yet most of them do it VERY badly. If you're going to use a PowerPoint presentation to supplement your speech, make sure you follow one important rule of thumb: six words per slide, MAX! Dump the bullet points. Dump the giant paragraphs of text. The goal for your speech is for you to SPEAK to your audience, not bore them to sleep by reading your presentation from your slides. The best speakers also ENGAGE their audiences, something that is impossible if you're reading from your slides. Using images will anchor your message (adult learners retain 65% more information when it is accompanied by an image or graphic) and force you to master your material.

 

Always take handouts. Whether you choose to go with PowerPoint or not, make sure you have business cards and handouts to leave behind with your audience. While we say NO BULLETS on the slides themselves, bullets can be very useful on your handouts to summarize and/or reiterate your most important points. Also make sure your handouts have your CONTACT INFO on them, including the website where they can buy your book! Our jaws often drop when we see brilliant speakers who fail to include contact info on their handouts.

 

Make  a list  and check it twice. In your excitement to get to the presentation, you'd hate to show up without your handouts, important computer files, or a copy of your speech. Avoid the panic by making a checklist of all the items you'll need for your presentation and mark each one off as you assemble your materials and pack your vehicle.

 

Arrive  a little early. With the Internet and GPS, there's no excuse to get lost. Make sure to allow enough time to show up at the venue at least 20  minutes early. Whatever you else happens, DO NOT BE LATE. You want to be invited back; tardiness is a sure way to tarnish your reputation. Once you arrive, familiarize yourself with the space (if you aren't already familiar with it) and make sure all your equipment is in working order and set up the way you need it.

 

Do "back of the room" sales. Ask in advance if you will be allowed to have copies of your book(s) on hand for back-of-room sales. Then set up your books in an eye-catching arrangement in the space provided for you. Just remember that you don't want to turn your speech into a sales pitch. If you provide content of value, the audience will want more of you — whether by purchasing books, seeking you out for other information, or inviting you to additional speaking engagements.

 

Greet the  audience  as they  arrive. Take the opportunity to meet members of your audience ahead of time. Donít skulk around backstage while people are getting seated. Take that time to shake hands, introduce yourself, and learn a few names as people walk in the door. This is a great way to break the ice and warm up the audience, as well as quell your own nervous energyby creating some rapport with the audience.

 

Remember, itís not  about you. Sure, you got the speaking engagement because have some skill, knowledge, or expertise in your particular subject matter area, but no one attends a luncheon or workshop just to hear how great some stranger thinks they are. Attendees want information, desire to be entertained, or are somehow looking to improve their lives. While you will no doubt benefit by being on the stage, the primary goal of your presentation should be to provide value to the audience.

 

Be  flexible. So the person who invited you promised an audience of 100+. You sweated over your presentation, perfecting your opening and closing down to the last punchline, only to have 10 people show up to hear you. Are you going to be disappointed, or are you going to deliver the best speech you can? In spite of our best intentions, sometimes life happens. Events get cancelled,speaker times get shortened, rooms get switched, the AC breaks, or no one shows up. Rather than being rememberes as a complainer, wouldn't you rather be remembered as being a part of the solution? Do what you can to remain flexible. It will prevent disappointment, agitation, and a poor experience.

 

Lastly, remember to smile, be gracious, and by all means say thank you to the group for inviting you! After your presentation, follow up with the organizers and any new people you met. Cultivate those relationships and invite feedback. Each time, youíll receive great tips and insights regarding worked and what didnít so you can continue to improve as a speaker.

 
     
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 Tips for pitching a speaking engagement
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Youíve been building your author platform and you're ready to add speaking to your marketing strategy — but how do you land those speaking engagements? It three key items: (1) relevant speaking topics that you can hone to a specific audience; (2) a speakerís media kit, and (3) a customized pitch.

 

Relevant Speaking Topics. Before you approach an organization or event coordinator about a speaking engagement, you need to know you have a speaker topic that will appeal to them. Itís best to develop several different key topics that are relevant to your book platform. Once you develop presentation materials for each topic, you won't need to draft a brand new presentation every time you speak You'll simply update your presentations to keep them current or tweak them to meet the specific needs of a specific group. By consistently presenting on the same topics, you will develop and hone your message so that those who book speakers can identify you as a potential presenter.

 

SPEAKER'S MEDIA KIT. You should create both digigal and printed versions of your speakerís media kit. Spend the time, money, and/or effort to create a clean, professional package. This may be the first impression you make on the individual who might book you, and a bad first impression can kill your pitch, no matter how relevant your topic or amazing your speaking skills.

 

Customized Pitch. Most pitches are submitted in writing, either through email or snail mail. You will want to customize your pitch for each event or organization. Be sure to personalize the address line to the organizer or chair, making sure to get the spelling of their name and title correct. Research the organization and its attendees to identify their needs so you can determine how your speaking topic(s) can help them. Be willing to alter your topic a bit to make it more appropriate for a specific audience. Follow all posted guidelines for speaker pitches to the letter.

 

Remember, you may not be the best presenter for every speaking opportunity you encounter. Use good judgment and pass on the ones that don't align with your platform goals.

 
     
 
 Create your Speaker Media Kit
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Similar to your author media kit, a speakerís media kit should include the following:

 

  • A professional, quality headshot
  • A short bio (50 to 100 words) and a full-length bio
  • Credentials: your education, certifications, experience, awards, etc.
  • Speaking history. If you have done many speaking engagements yet, you can build on your publishing credits and other experience until you build a strong speaking résumé.
  • Speaking topics: your list of expert topics, with bulleted talking points for each
  • Menu of services: the types of speaking you do, including your rates for each type
  • Speakerís reel: a high-quality, well-edited video montage of you speaking
  • Contact information
 
     
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 Do you want to be a keynote or a platform speaker?
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There are essentially two kinds of speakers: keynote and platform. Keynote speakers are usually renown for having published a book or are known for their particular service or subject matter expertise and receive a flat fee for each presentation. They do not pitch, promote, or sell anything from the stage or at the back of the room.

 

At the other end of the spectrum are platform speakers. Platform speakers, while offering valuable content, make their money by promoting something. They could be building exposure for a company or their own high-end coaching program. They might be recommending registration in an upcoming event or selling a home-study program at the back of the room. Ultimately, their goal is to entice the audience to take action and buy something.

 

People often assume that keynote speakers are better paid than platform speakers. Depending on the skill of the speaker, however, becoming a paid keynoter can be a long, arduous road. To get paid well, you must have a track record and a proven ability to draw an audience. And even then, you might never work your way up to more than a few thousand dollars a speech. With the right sikill, experience, and products to promote, platform speaking can be much more financially rewarding.

 

Consider these household names: Tony Robbins, Sylvia Browne, T. Harv Eker, Joyce Meyer, Jack Canfield, and Mark Victor Hansen. All are platform speakers with personally branded programs, many of which are priced in the thousands of dollars. Some endorse other people's products, taking a commission for their endorsements.

 

Platform speakers: T Robbins, S Browne, T Harv Eker, J Meyer, J Canfield, MV Hansen

 

Growing your platform through public speaking is a great way to showcase your expertise while meeting more people at a time. It also enables you to connect with your prospects in an intimate, powerful way. Mosst importantly, it gives you the opportunity to present an irresistible offer to your audience that can turn them into paying clients.

 
     
 
 So how do you develop a platform?
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Developing your speaking platform will require some effort and initiative. Here are a few ideas to get you creative juices flowing:

 

  • Host a one-time event or workshop series.
  • Offer to participate as a guest panelist at an industry event.
  • Organize a training program in your area of expertise.
  • Speak for local groups such as a Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations attended ny members of your target market.
  • Develop a course for your local community college.
  • Host a teleseminar or webinar in your subject matter area.
 
     
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 The key is capturing your prospects' contact information
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  Presenting your topic or offering instruction is only part of your public speaking platform. You offer value by sharing your knowledge and genuinely reaching out to your audience. But if you intend to grow your platform, you will need to offer something more that will eventually convert your audience-turned-prospects into paying clients.

Do this by leaving your audience with a ďgiftĒ that reminds them of your presentation, in return for their contact information. What kind of gift can you offer?  Consider the your specific industry or specialization. Can you package the info from your book into a video series, audio CD, or podcast? Might you entice your prospects into your coaching program by offering a complimentary initial session?

Capture the names and email addresses of your audience/participants
by giving away a book so that you can collect their business cards or with a simple sign-up sheet. Then follow up with an auto responder campaign or nurture the relationship via regular communication, such as your ezine or social media accounts.
 
 

 

 
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LAURA ORSINI
| Freelance Writer | Editor | Designer | Marketer | Social Alchemist | BLOG


Laura
@WriteMarketDesign.com ē 602.518.5376 ē PO Box 40273, Phoenix AZ 85067

 

 
 

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