Today’s post is by Dr Gary Wohlman, the founder and director of My Presentation Doctor and the author of Get Up, Stand Up For Your Life. Dr Gary travels the world training CEOs, managing directors, senior managers and executive committees of leading organisations, as well as professional speakers and entrepreneurs in a wide range of industries and, in this article, he shares 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.
So what is it about public speaking that makes it so effective for authors?
Public speaking is an opportunity for you to connect with people directly, as an open forum. It’s a way to introduce yourself and to share your knowledge, wisdom and experiences so that people can connect with you. And that personal connection is the first step towards sharing your book with more and more people.
Next, being seen on stage gives you automatic credibility. Only the select few are chosen to be speakers, which sets you apart from everyone in the audience. You also have the endorsement of those who organised the event, as they are clearly vouching for you if you’re on stage.
Public speaking also gives you the opportunity to share a deeper message then you might be able to through your website and other marketing material, which gives you the opportunity to connect with potential readers in your audience.
Finally, you have the opportunity to sell your book from the stage, which literally boosts your success as an author because more people buy your book.
3 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 tips I 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.
Finding your voice is essential to building your author profile through speaking because, when you find your voice, people are eager to hear what you have to say. Why? Those with a distinctive, authentic voice command attention with every word they speak and every gesture they make.
So how can you find your voice? One way is 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 resonance in 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. This makes your voice sound strong and confident rather than breathy or raspy, which is what occurs when you are disconnected from your body.
As you become familiar with how this feels, the next step is to tune into how you feel when you’re practicing your speech. Does it resonate through your body, or does it stick in your throat? If it sticks, it could be a sign that you aren’t speaking in your true voice.
As you learn to recognise this sensation, speaking your most passionate ideas becomes an easy, elegant process through which your spoken words become freely, fully flowing.
2. Connect to your audience
When you connect to your audience, you developing a rapport between you. This will make it easier for you to speak in a conversational tone, rather than a lecturing tone, and it will make them more likely to listen to what you have to say (and buy your book!).
When members of the audience feel you are speaking to them directly, they feel they are as important to your presentation as your material and content. This is the essence of relationship-based speaking, and differs from podium or lecture-based teaching in the interactive engagement and participatory connection that it creates, making it easier for all to hear, understand and remember your message.
How can you connect?
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.
A second idea is doing a bit of audience research so you can understand your audience’s psychographic needs, wants and questions. By addressing these, you will also be able to connect more easily.
Here’s a tangible tip you can put into immediate action in your next presentation: whether or not there’s time at the end of your presentation for a Q&A, 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 connect with your listeners by asking those questions out loud. ‘One of the most difficult questions people often ask me is…’, ‘ Another challenging question people often ask me is…’ and ‘One of my most commonly asked questions 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 open-ended, participatory questions out loud builds interest in your topic and subliminally encourages those listening to want to know more.
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 using the affirmation: ‘It is easy for me to reach people with my voice’. Start by simply stating it. Then notice the difference when you:
The more you play with these methods, the more facile you will become in matching your verbal message with your physical delivery. Walking your talk in this way will also help you develop consistent body language as you speak, so the words you speak match the movements you make.
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. 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.
About the author
Dr. Gary Wohlman
Dr. Gary Wohlman is founder and director of My Presentation Doctor. He is an innovative, international presentation coach who travels the world training CEOs, managing directors, senior managers and executive committees of leading organisations, as well as professional speakers and entrepreneurs in a wide range of industries. His streamlined approach to facilitating personal and corporate communication breakthroughs combines over 40 years of performance-based leadership training, team-building and platform skills. Known for his refreshing, playful and sensitive style, Dr Gary has an extraordinary ability to create a safe and supportive atmosphere through which participants easily generate greater rapport, engagement and interaction with audiences.
To contact Dr Gary, visit www.mypresentationdoctor.com.