Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Speaking Engagments

Super Bowl Sunday I spoke to the Tulare Count Historical Society. Frankly, I didn't expect many to be there or that those who were there would stay for my talk. I was wrong. The room was packed and everyone stayed.

I love speaking engagements. As long as I know what I'm talking about I'm off and running.

Recently on one of the lists I follow, discussed what people like to see when an author gives a presentation. A couple are kind of funny.

That the author didn't look at sound bored. (That one I can't imagine, but they were referring to someone on a tour who acted like they'd given the same speech over and over.)

That they looked nice--had dressed for the occasion. (Example were given of authors who looked like they'd just gotten up, thrown on whatever clothes were lying around and forgot to comb their hair. I doubt if any female authors were guilty. I know I plan what I'm going to wear down to the jewelry. I'm old and there's nothing I can do about that--but I try to look the best I can.)

That the author doesn't talk down to the audience. (Now how dumb it that? For one thing, the idea is to make the people listening to you like you so that they'll want to buy your books. However, I have run into one or two authors here and there who have been a bit on the pretentious side. That won't be me, I can assure you. I don't have a pretentious bone in my body.)

They also spoke about authors who read their entire speech. Though I often write out the points I want to cover, I just keep the note handy and I never read from it. When I'm speaking it's going to be about something I know and that way I don't really need much to remind me where I'm supposed to be going.

What I've learned over the years is to look around and make eye contact with people (sort of like preachers do). It's also a good idea to make them laugh once in awhile. Your whole speech doesn't have to be funny, unless you've written a funny book, but it's kind of nice to let the audience know you're human.

Always ask for questions at the end of your talk and answer them kindly even if the questions are odd.

Thank the people for having you when you're done, and be prepared to sell your books. That means have change if you're the one selling them, and have someone to help you with the actual money part.


There's no reason to be frightened when you do a speaking engagement, most of the people in the room came to see and hear you. Talk to them like you would if it were only you talking to one person.

Marilyn
Books by Marilyn

2 comments:

Monti said...

You should feel quite flattered that you overcame Super Bowl competition!
Very good points. People seem to grow more casual every year, but I like to see speakers who dress up.

Monti
NotesAlongTheWay

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Just to be quite honest, we're on the West Coast so the game started later.

Marilyn