Tips on Giving Talks

I love giving talks about writing and my books to anyone who asks me to speak.

Do I get nervous? A little, but not after I get started. As long as I know what I'm talking about, I don't have a problem.

Of course I prepare ahead of time. If I'm talking to a social or service group I will put a few notes on a 3 X 5 card so I cover everything I want to say--however, I often just talk.

If I'm giving a class about writing, I'll prepare handouts and speak from the handouts. No, I don't read from them, but I use them to keep on track.

For a social or service group I sometimes talk about the adventures I've had as a writer, maybe how long it took me to get published, how different the writing life is now than before, but I always talk about my two series and the latest books. After all, I'm hoping they'll be interested enough to buy one or two.

For a class, I use many examples from my favorite authors about the subject I'm teaching, but once in awhile I'll insert an example from my own book that fits. Again, I'm hoping they'll be interested enough to buy one of my books.

Sometime at bookstores I'm asked to give a talk on some aspect of writing and I always prepare handouts for those who come too. Giving a talk at a bookstore is way better than standing at a table and trying to entice people to come and look at your book(s).

One thing I've learned over the years is if I can make the audience laugh, I'll sell books.

Being prepared is also important. That doesn't mean memorizing a speech, that can be deadly if you forget something or get lost along the way, but knowing what you plan to talk about and having some notes to keep you on track.

Always leave time for people to ask questions. I don't mind if people ask questions at any time, but it's much easier of they wait until the end.

Remember, everyone who has come to hear you talk is interested in what you have to say.

The more you do it the easier it gets.

Anyone in California who'd like to have me as a speaker, just send me an email and I'll see what I can work out.



Cafe Noir said…
Thanks for the tips, Marilyn. I've seen some writers who really aren't prepared and could use them. I also like the idea of having handouts. I've done some speaking but never thought of that -- good advice. --Paul
Thanks for stopping by, Paul. I've been at this for a long, long time. Things keep changing and I always learn from others.

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