Monday, February 18, 2013

Why Public Speaking is Good for Writers

Having just come off a speaking engagement this past Saturday, I thought talking about why this is a good thing would be an apt Monday topic.

I know, I know, we're writers, not talkers, right? I'm sure not a fan of public speaking, personally. However, the more I do it, the more comfortable I get with it. Eventually, I'll be able to sleep the night before. I hope?

So why should a writer be a speaker? One good way to sell books, at this point, is to speak at writer's conferences and other similar workshops and engagements. By presenting a workshop, you get exposure to a new audience, and if you know what you're talking about, there's a good chance you'll gain a few readers for your book. In addition, any advertising put out by said conference/workshop/engagement is free advertising for you.

It's smart to aim for smaller engagements first, in order to build up your resume so that you can ultimately get into a conference. Look for programs at your local library, at book stores around you, and with writer's groups.

Consider what you can speak on with some authority, what you can share with others that will help them along in some way. Put together a workshop. They can be anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours (and probably outside that window, too, but those are the more common time frames I've seen), so try to have some idea what you're applying for before you figure it out. Aiming for 45 minutes to an hour may be best if no time frame is given. You can always add or take away in order to meet specific time constraints.

Pick a good title - it will be the first thing people see in advertisements. Write up a short blurb about your workshop. They may ask you for a shorter version and a longer version of it, so be prepared for that.

When you apply to do a workshop, you will be asked for information like why you're the one to present this information, your previous speaking engagements, writer's groups you may belong to, publications, contests won, your website/blog, so on and so forth. Each one will be different.

Alright, all of that out of the way, want to know another reason to be a speaker? It can get you free or discounted entry to workshops, presentations and conferences. Food for thought!

Have you ever applied to present a workshop? How did it go? If you haven't, would you consider doing so? Do you have any pros of speaking to add to this?

May you find your Muse.


  1. Still not a fan of the public speaking.

  2. I love speaking about writing. I envision the day I'm at a bookstore (or auditorium), and doing a reading of my book and sharing the writing experience...when I'm published that is.

  3. I'm planning one for my daughter's high school. I love working with teens.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  4. I've thought about doing a workshop for our local adult ed's a little scary for yours truly the introvert.

  5. Last time I spoke in public was in a clown gathering. Don't think this is anything similar to that. Good advice, though.

  6. Oh, yeah, I'm good at that stuff, but I'm pretty clueless about getting to actually do it.

  7. I actually enjoy public speaking. I guess all that teaching in High School helps!

  8. Err, no comment on your question. :)

    We both think of public speaking as a necessary evil, and it's only nerve wracking up until you do it, then it just kind of fades away and you do your thing. It's a great way to teach others, and it's a great way to market yourself and make some more new connections. We've spoken before, and we will certainly speak again.

  9. I personally love to talk, therefore I would be good at it!

    My previous work in customer service at many levels in the past, auto sales...gotta be on your toes there...dinner captain..alot to know and present to high dollar dining guests, food server in country clubs...personality and ability to carry on conversations with guests, booking reservations for Hilton Worldwide Reservations and speaking with people from all over the world...effective communication for sales..commissions, and working for a telephone catalog sales company, once again sales and speaking effectively with people wanting to order from all over the states.

    I have only had to stand up in college to speak, never in a seminar setting, or conference setting. However when I am confident in my subject matter, I would have no problem to speak to people about it. I would enjoy it!

  10. Public speaking as always brought me out in a cold sweat - I work one to one with clients in my gym, even the idea of leading an exercise class makes me nervous! I know I should practise, but I just... urgh!

  11. I have been a public speaker with the speaker's bureau for decades. I still get butterflies before standing in front of an audience, but once I begin, I'm in my element.I've spoken to groups of 10-2000. The results are always the same good job.

    It takes practice and overcoming nerves, but well worth it.

  12. I've not presented a writing workshop, though I did once give a lecture on Ancient Egyptian vampires, which was fun :)

    Jamie @ Mithril Wisdom

  13. I love public speaking and was a preacher for years so I have spoken in front of people hundreds of times, but have never spoken about writing. Of course, I would need some writing success before anyone would care about what I had to say in that area. I'll get there.

    Stopping in from A to Z Challenge. It will be my first year participating.

  14. Public speaking isn't so scary! Actually I prefer it to writing because you can see immediately the public's reaction and change direction - if you started bad, you can still fix it, whereas when it comes to writing... this is the time consuming, confusing activity. Plus, you don't get immediate feedback.

    I'd take public speaking any day, but in Romanian this isn't a very common thing.

  15. Yup... still not going to happen. Hives, red blotches... yeah not my cup of tea.

  16. I don't mind public speaking if I'm 100% confident in the material. It's the making small talk before and after I can't stand! :)

  17. That's wonderful advice about public speaking! I hate speaking in public. I avoid it at all costs. lol

  18. Just as with writing, speaking skills improve the more you practice the activity. I'm an introvert, but I've found speaking and doing presentations has helped me hone my acting-like-an-extrovert skills, which in turn has helped me expand my network. Speaking is just another marketing tool I can use in my professional life. Now to get back to practicing my writing skills.

  19. Alex, don't get me wrong, I'm not either! But I'll be emceeing an event I'm helping to put on Saturday, so there ya' go!

    Em, I agree with the second part of what you said, for sure! What a wonderful day that will be.

    Shelly, oh, how fun! What are you going to talk about?

    Marcy, I totally understand. I've been trying to think of where else I might speak, but it's challenging when most of me doesn't want to.

    Al, color me intrigued! A clown gathering??

    Andrew, all I can think is to look up local writer's conferences and workshops, adult ed programs, schools (which I think you've already probably got covered), library programs, etc. Then submit a proposal.

    Schell, I imagine it does help!

    Bryan, bet your ass you will! Yeah, a necessary evil I'm trying to embrace. I'd like to speak about something other than blogging, though, so need to work on that.

    Sandy, you have tons of experience! I bet you'd be great at being a speaker. You should look into it! Might be a nice way to make some extra money and get out and do something you enjoy.

  20. Annalisa, I briefly considered going through training and doing exercise classes, but the thought terrified me. I blanked completely when I tried to think what I'd do. Ugh!

    J.L., I need to look up what the speaker's bureau is. It's somewhat reassuring to know that you still get butterflies. While that means it will likely keep happening for me, I know it can be done.

    Jamie, man, I still say I would have loved to attend that. So fun! I want to see a post about that!

    Brett, glad you're joining us! Oh, I imagine you'd do a fantastic job then. You've got the best training out there.

    Adriana, that's a really good point, actually. The same premise that has me hating talking on the phone, but okay with talking face to face (though I admit I much prefer email).

    Dani, don't blame you! Nothing is worth hives, man.

    DL, I'm with you 100% there! Had I learned that speaking about something I was confident in was all it took, I would have had far less trouble in school. Given, those were assignments, so subject matter was limited.

    Lexa, ha! I used to! Still try to, but I know I need to move outside that if I can.

    Brenda, and I have to say that you never come across as an introvert, so you're definitely doing something right!