One of my goals this year is to get my Membership of the National Speaker's Association Australia which means I have to do a certain number of paid speaking events. Becoming an excellent speaker is a goal because professional authors who can speak make more money than those who don't. (Check out the latest controversy over Neil Gaiman's speaking fee). They are also valued highly for the Festival circuit (which I love!). The Sydney Morning Herald recently quoted a festival organiser,
“Writers become festival fixtures because they can deliver. And yes, word does filter through the festival grapevine about who does. There are certainly writers who sell more books at festival time than they do the rest of the year because they are good performers. It's become a skill that is useful for a writer.”
So in my quest to become a (highly paid) professional speaker, I recently spoke at the Gold Coast Writer's Association. It was a full day workshop with 17 people on Author Branding, Blogging and Marketing using the internet. In this short video taken before the event, I explain how I prepare for my public speaking because a lot of people have asked me about it.
Text below the video for those who don't like to watch!
In this video, I explain:
- Arriving early is great as it lowers stress, allows you time for a coffee and a read through of your notes as well as time to set up slowly and meet people
- Be prepared. Have slides on your laptop, plus a USB key, plus on the internet plus on paper in case of technical problems
- Research. I did questionnaire before hand asking people for specific questions and asking if I could use them as case studies to make the session more directed
- Connection with people before the event can give you anecdotes to put in the session and lower anxiety by connecting you to individuals instead of being in a crowd
- Bring products: Books, CDs to sell plus stuff to set up quickly as people do want to take you away with them
- Video camera if you want to video, but get permission and also ignore it, as it doesn't serve your audience
- Personal appearance: I wear a certain outfit and jewelry that makes me feel professional. I also learned about makeup last year so I could do it properly for an event as I don't usually wear it.
- Take headache pill. This is my personal choice, not a recommendation! I enjoy speaking but it is stressful, plus the long drive and a full day ahead means I often get head pain. I take a pill beforehand so the day is fun for me too.
- I have a coffee beforehand and water throughout the day, I eat lightly
- Loud music. I listen to some loud music on the journey down to set my persona for the day. As an introvert I am not energised by people so I need to put on my performance self. This is not an act, but merely the side of me that does public appearances! Matt Church talked about this at the National Speaker's Association conference so I'm not alone.
- Write down intention for the day. I always write down what I want to achieve, and what I want people to get out of it. This sets my own expectations and allows for synchronicity to occur.
Do you have any tips for preparing for public speaking?