Friday, May 22, 2009

A Word on Speaking & Promoting

All across the country school board presidents, elected officials, and nearly any other local celebrity are fine tuning speeches to be given at commencement ceremonies. After sitting through more than my share of these speeches, I’ve learned a thing or two about what not to do when someone puts a microphone in your hand.

I think it goes without saying that we shouldn't bore our audience into a semi-unconscious state. You would never do that because you have something interesting to say that people want to hear. After all, you got a book published. Something most of the world only dreams about.

I’ve given plenty of presentations, speeches, and workshops for readers and writers since the publication of my first book in 2004. The first few dozen times I got sick to my stomach. But over time I got used to telling others what I'd learned and even came to enjoy doing it. I'm afraid many public speakers enjoy speaking so much on any chosen topic, they don’t know when to sit down so we can all go home and eat cake.

On behalf of your listeners let me assure you less is indeed more.

It is tempting to overdo it when we have the opportunity to talk about our passion. Remember a little goes a long way when it comes to promotion. If your audience is truly interested, asking questions, participating in the discussion, then by all means, give them what they want. But know when to say when.

When you began approaching agents and editors with your query and proposal, you knew you only had a few moments to dazzle your audience. Think of speaking in the same way. We are all busy. There are so many demands and options vying for our time. If we bothered to show up to your event, we are at least moderately interested in what you have to say. Make it worth our while. Entertain us, pique our interest in your story, and don't forget to give us the chance to interact afterward.

Be yourself. Don't apologize for not being a better known author. Have fun and your audience will too.

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