Public speaking as a marketing tool …

Are you a public speaker? If you are a writer and your answer was no, you need to consider becoming one. Getting your face, voice and your writing in front of people so they want to know more about you.  Not everyone was born with the public speaking gene — I wasn’t. I gained the ability through years of practice, and as a writer it is a critical asset.

This is for those of you who said no to my first question. Speaking to groups is part of marketing yourself and your writing. Consider it another tool in your arsenal along with networking, book signings and everything else you do to promote yourself.Don’t be concerned about pleasing everybody in your audience. As an instructor, I heard a train-the-trainer say: 20% will hate you no matter what you do for them; 20% will love you no matter what you do to them; present to the middle 60%.

Overcome the jitters. Do all the things you’ve heard of — picture the audience naked; tell yourself they get into their pants/panties one leg at a time. Beyond those, take your presentation into a quiet room where you can be alone. Stand up and give your entire speech — word for word — out loud. For me this last step is the most important. Once I’ve heard the words aloud, the next time I “hear” them — in front of an audience — the tension is eased and I’m more comfortable.

Start small if need be. Accept every opportunity that comes along. If they don’t come on their own, create them. Volunteer to discuss your favorite writing subject or book to your writing or critique group. Most times I have a briefcase with me containing several presentations. Always ready for a last minute fill-in for a no-show speaker.

Give it a shot; I think you’ll enjoy your time in front of audiences.

Cheers, John

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