Talking (Not Writing)

Posted by on Dec 3, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

candidate-clipart-speech_6A while back, I was listening to a great Maine Calling show on MBPN, about public speaking and how to do it well. Writers can’t just shut ourselves up in our writing caves and type; some days we actually have to get out there and speak to people about our work.

For my fellow writers and anybody who has to get up in front of people and (gasp!) talk, here are some things I’m learning:

  • Don’t start with an apology (“I have a cold, please excuse me”), a summary (“So I’m going to talk to you today about…”) or a greeting/intro (“Hi, I’m Sarah.”). Start with a statement or a question. Give them something substantial.
  • Don’t be afraid of silence. Pause between sentences and thoughts. It conveys authority and confidence. Rushing to fill up silence conveys nervousness.
  • Look at people’s ears. You will engage them without making them feel stared at.
  • Nervous energy wants to leave your body. Standing still and talking is hard. If you want to move, move–just do it deliberately, as if you meant to.
  • Nobody wants you to fail. The audience is eager to be interested in what you say, because otherwise they are going to be bored. They want you to be good. They’re not mean. Try not to be scared of them.

And a couple of my own:

  • Give yourself permission to bore one or two people. You won’t and can’t catch everybody with every speech.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Then you’ll be able to say whatever it is even when you’re nervous.
  • AND MY OWN PERSONAL, FAVORITE, ALL-IMPORTANT TIP OF ALL TIME: Never be afraid to be short. People will love you for it.


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