On Saturday, I had the privilege to speak at a local writers conference hosted through the Kent District Library. I was one of four speakers and we were all focused on the craft of writing.
While I know many writers cringe at the idea of public speaking don’t be too intimidated. It’s a room full of writers just like yourself, you’re in good company.
I’ve been attending this conference series for about five years and each one had something to offer me on my writing journey. Last spring my writing friends said, “you know more about kid lit than that speaker does.” Not to be rude to that speaker, but it was true. That’s when the light bulb went off, maybe I could speak at this conference in the future.
I’ve talked before about taking courage and sending out that email. Just ask. You never know.
You could end up like me, walking into a conference room, getting asked questions, and being clapped for. It’s surreal. If you do take courage and send that email, be prepared for a yes. Here are a few things I did to prepare myself:
- I made a power-point. If the conference can, have them print copies for everyone if it’s relevant.
- I got examples of the books I wanted to reference.
- I practiced! Don’t leave this out. You need to time yourself so you stay within the window the conference gives you. There’s nothing more embarrassing that being told to wrap it up two-thirds through your slides.
- Get a relevant joke. People like to laugh. It will lighten your mood in the process.
- Get the crowd involved. Ask them questions.
- Don’t read your slides. Put your talking point on the slide and then expound from there.
- Have a buddy. I’m so glad I had friends there to back me up and give me good feedback afterwards.
- Bring your books to sell or reference depending on what the conference allows.
- Bring your business cards to hand out to those who want to follow you online.
Many of these thoughts are basic public speaking 101 but no writer purposely prepares to speak. Otherwise we’d be speakers and not writers.
What have you done lately to jump out of your comfort zone?
3 thoughts on “Public Speaking: Conference Edition”
Good post. I would add a couple of things. The people who invite you regard you as an expert, they are eager to hear what you have to say. Let this sink in as a confidence builder. Being nervous is natural, understand that it will energize you and give you more power to connect. It will be fun. Ignore the inner liar. Enjoy the ride. Practice.
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Great points Mark! I did get a big confidence boost afterwards for sure. It was one of the coolest writer experiences I’ve had so far. I would defiantly do it again. Have a wonderful week!
Glad to hear you had such a positive experience.