When you publish a book, there's an exhilaration you get from knowing you're about to share your words with others and those words have the opportunity to impact people beyond just yourself. You're sharing your story with the intent that the information has the power to resonate with someone else, to entertain, delight, or affect change. Speaking about your book presents a similar opportunity.
When it comes to communicating your book's message, sometimes as much happens off the pages as on them. You'll tell many people about your book just in conversation, but on a more professional level, you may also consider author speaking. Talking about your book in the form of author speaking can be a fantastic way to give people a taste of your expertise and what you have to say and encourage them to dive into your book for the full story.
As a professional speaker, activist, and bestselling author, I’ve learned the classic mistakes that some speakers make, both from my own hard learned lessons and from watching others. Here are some speaking tips to ensure your book's message gets the delivery it deserves.
Don't Read a Speech
Speak from the heart, don’t read your presentation. It’s fine if you want a few notes that you can follow along to stay on point, but when you read a speech, it can create a disconnect for the audience because the relationship is more between you and your notes than you and your audience. It also tends to sound sing-song and flat.
Take Your Time
Don’t rush through your talk. This tends to happen if you’ve tried to pack too much information into your talk and you breathlessly attempt to get everything in before your time is up. It’s more important that you feel the words and communicate the most important aspects, and that you’re in the moment, connecting with people. If you’re running over, better to leave a few things out and conclude gracefully. When that happens to me, I’m always honest with my audience. I tell them, “my time is almost up, there’s so much more I wanted to share, but let me leave you with this because this is so important…” and then I give them the key take away from the talk, the one thing, that above all else I want them to remember.
Be Sure to Project
Projection isn’t just about volume. It's about energy, passion, posture, and conviction. A microphone can only amplify your voice. The rest is up to you. So often, I see speakers stand in one place and talk into the microphone as if they’re reciting their grocery list. Stand tall, shoulders back, smile, and speak with authority. Own your moment. Those are the nuances of projection, and it is much more than just being heard. You want yourself and your message to be remembered.
Avoid "Ums" and "You Knows"
Try to be aware of when you say “um” or “you know.” Instead, replace it with a pause. There is NOTHING more powerful than a pause. If you’re speaking and you need to think for a moment to choose your words, simply pause, determine what you want to say, and then say it. If the pause is just a few seconds, during those few seconds, your audience will be listening intently to the silence, in anticipation of what you’ll say next. The pause peaks audience interest. If you think the pause may be a little longer, you can tell the audience, “give me a moment, I want to make sure I phrase this correctly.” THEN, pause, think, and speak.
Keep Your Energy Up
Be sure you don't lose steam midway through your talk. Imagine your energy is a staircase. You always want your staircase to ascend, not descend. You need your energy directed forward, up, moving, electric, alive! The audience is like a mirror. If you see physical signs of their energy beginning to wane, that likely means you’re getting tired, too. When that happens, harness your energy and kick it up. I promise it’s there.