Thursday, November 21, 2019

Prepare for Public Speaking Like a Pro

By Chrys Fey, @ChrysFey

Part of The Writer’s Life Series

JH: Speaking in public is a nightmare for many people, but it's something authors need to be able to do. Today, Chrys Fey takes the podium today with tips on how to speak in pubic.

Chrys Fey is the author of the award-winning book Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication. Catch the sparks you need to write, edit, publish, and market your book! From writing your novel to prepping for publication and beyond, you’ll find sparks on every page, including 100 bonus marketing tips. Fey is an editor for Dancing Lemur Press and runs the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s Goodreads book club. She is also the author of the Disaster Crimes series. Visit her blog, Write with Fey, for more tips.

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Take it away Chrys…

Speaking in public can be scary, especially if you’ve never done it before, but it is possible. Not only that, but you could rock it and make people believe you’re comfortable behind a podium or with a mic in your hand. How do you get there, though? I have some techniques you can try that helped me.

1. Know what you want to say. 

A couple of weeks before your speech, make a list of your points and then go through what you want to say a few times in your head.

2. When you have your speech mapped out in your head, write it out on paper. 

Putting something on paper helps you to retain information better than typing it, because hand-writing something takes longer to do. It’s another way to get your speech ingrained in your memory.

3. Go through your written speech and jot down all of your points.

Big and small, from beginning to end on large index cards.

4. Use those index cards as reminders of what to say while you record yourself giving your speech.

Sit in front of your webcam or laptop or propped-up cellphone. Recording yourself can give you the same sort of nervous feeling you’ll have to combat when you’re in front of a group of people. If you can do a recording, you can do it in person! And it’s okay if you mess up now. This is your first time, after all. Right now, it’s perfectly all right to mess up.

TIP: Don’t watch the recording. By simply going through the motions, you can learn what you need to do differently and make adjustments. Watching it can hurt your confidence.

5. Record yourself two more times. 

Why? Practice makes perfect. Or, at least, it makes better.

6. A week before your speech, practice standing up and giving your speech. 

If you will have to give your speech behind a podium, you can practice your speech behind a make-shift podium. I used a dresser. And I recorded myself, too. This time, though, I attempted to work completely off memory, only peeking at my notes when I had to flip index cards or needed a quick reminder of what to say next. If you’ll be holding a microphone, try holding a hairbrush. If you’ll have a whole stage to work with. Try walking back and forth in the space you have.

7. Repeat. And repeat again. 

Yup, record yourself two more times mimicking the conditions you’ll have while giving your speech. Even wear the same outfit and shoes to make sure you’re comfortable in them.

8. Repeat one last time, to yourself.

On the way to the venue, go through your points in your head, the ones on the index cards, as a refresher course.

9. Keep those index cards close. 

Bring them with you to the podium. Holding something familiar in your hands can be grounding, and they will also serve as a backup in case you forget your place.

10. Don't stress over forgetting something.

When I gave my first speech, I had my index cards with me, but I only had to consult them once as a reminder of my next point. Later, I realized I forgot to mention one little thing in my speech, but it was okay. Leaving out that point didn’t ruin my speech or derail my progress; it went smoothly from beginning to end, which surprised and delighted me.

11. Take a deep breath.

The entire time before my speech, I was nervous with a capital N. I could barely eat (and my speech was for a luncheon with delicious food), and my heart was pounding. I was worried I’d be too nervous and would make a fool out of myself, but the moment I was behind the podium holding the mic, my nerves drained away and my speech flowed. In that instance, inside, I was telling myself, “Oh my gosh, you’re doing it!” And I truly believe I owe it all to my practice, practice, practice.

You can have a moment like that, too. I believe in you. Now you have to believe in you.

SHARE: What have you done to prepare for a speech?

About Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication

Do you want to know how to write a book step by step?

Are you wondering what to do once you have written a book?

Catch the sparks you need to write, edit, publish, and market your book!

Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication offers an abundance of data in one handy book. From writing your novel to prepping for publication and beyond, you'll find sparks on every page, including 100 bonus marketing tips. You'll also discover how to write specific scenes and characters, adding depth to your work.
  • Spark One: Being a Writer
  • Spark Two: Story Essentials
  • Spark Three: A Book's Stepping Stones
  • Spark Four: How To
  • Spark Five: Character ER
  • Spark Six: Editing
  • Spark Seven: Publishing
  • Spark Eight: Marketing
  • Spark Nine: Writing About
  • Spark Ten: Final Inspiration
With so much information, you'll take notes, highlight, and flag pages to come back to again and again on your writing journey.

You will learn how to:
  • Write action, romance, suspense, mystery, and comedy
  • Create believable characters
  • Edit your writing
  • Build your author platform
  • Craft your author brand
  • Use social media marketing
  • Start a blog
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  1. Excellent advice all around.

    One tip I'd add, my favorite one from Toastmasters: practice everything, but also practice the *first thing* you'll say again and again and again. You want to get that line or to to the point that you can say it in your proverbial sleep, so you know no freezing up will stop you from getting started. Once you get the words rolling, the rest will follow.

    1. That is an excellent tip to add, and something I do as well. Thank you for your comment!

  2. Thank you for hosting me once again for this article, Janice! I hope you enjoy your holidays. :)