Friday, July 13, 2018

Authors Should Follow This Advice On Speaking

I had the opportunity to see an advance copy of the 20th anniversary edition of Knockout Presentations:  How to Deliver Your Message with Power, Punch and Pizzazz by Diane DiResta.  Morgan James Publishing will release it in the fall.  Though her advice is for speakers of all situations, especially business, much of what she writes about, based on decades of experience, is directly applicable to authors.

Some of the myths you should expect to overcome are as follows:

“I’m not a public speaker.”

Oh, but you are.  Anytime you talk – at a bookstore library, school, church, office – or just one on one – you use the power of persuasion – from body language and voice, to energy and word choice.

“Look over the heads of the audience when speaking.”

Why? Look, instead, directly at specific people.  Connect with your eyes.  Look at a few people, one at a time.  This creates a feeling of a relationship.

“Memorize Your Speech.”

Don’t read a speech but don’t try to memorize it either.  Let it flow naturally.  Memorize certain, concepts or ideas – but not whole sentences or specific words.  Have some notes or outlines handy.

“Cover all of your points in a speech.”

Rather than trying to cram too much into one speech, where you feel rushed or overwhelm the audience, focus on a few major points and let the speech serve as a teaser for one to buy your book, go to your site, or take an action step.

DiResta also cautioned speakers not to start with a joke, saying “You don’t have to be funny to be effective.”  I disagree wholeheartedly.  Lighten things up with humor and wit – but make sure that what you say is truly funny.  Test it.  Scrub it to make sure no one can misinterpret what you say.  The last thing you want is a shit storm over a perceived misstep.  Leave sex, race, religion, and politics out – unless the crowd you are in front of (and your book) relates to a specific topic that’s relevant to one of them.

Of course speakers need to properly prepare for a presentation, which includes showing up early to make sure your equipment (if you use any) is set up.  She cautions you should make sure that you:

·         Know what type of audience you’re presenting to.
·         Don’t speak in a monotone voice.
·         Present in a focused manner.
·         Introduce details further into your presentation.
·         Provide strong evidence or examples to back up your points/claims.

Authors need to speak to sell books.  They can set up presentations for 10 people or 500+. Venues vary, but the speech may remain relevant to all.  The key is to provide useful content, present yourself in a fun or inspiring manner, and to find ways to connect with those you speak to.  Ask the audience questions and let them ask you questions, if possible.  Provide handouts or guide them to a link for more information.

Authors like to write, rather than speak.  Some are shy or insecure about their appearance or voice.  Others stumble on their words and forget what to say.  But if you can practice and prepare – and find friendly places to present – you’ll soon find that it’s rewarding to speak.

Good luck!

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.”

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