Writers exist in our heads, which is why we love to write. Some of us are introverts, some extroverts — some a combo. When it comes to talking about our books, that’s a minefield. Public speaking is a true fear (it falls under SAD — social anxiety disorder) for many people and to be successful, requires real skills: not only presentation skills but also thinking on the fly, focus, and preparation.
Research into performance anxiety in music has shown that there are four state changes that fear can cause. You may experience all or some of these in varying degrees:
Emotion – Feeling nervous, stressed, worried, or panicked.
Thought – Forgetting your words or losing concentration.
Behavior – Trembling, fidgeting, moving in an awkward way.
Physiology – Upset breathing, increased heartbeat or an upset stomach.
By understanding that these are basic symptoms of those who fear public speaking, you can distance yourself from them. Next time you’re asked to speak and your stomach starts to rumble, rest assured that it’s entirely normal and a common experience. (No it’s not just you!). (Source: Ginger Public Speaking)
Here is a breakdown via Q&A of my time with Paul, and I also link to several articles and blog posts where he mentions specific skills.
Q1 – How do I slow down my speech when I’m nervous?
A1 – You have to prepare mentally and physically; most speakers leave out the physical part out.
Q2 – What is the physical part?
A2 – Recognize that your breathing fuels your voice. As your breath flows, so do your ideas. Breathe deeply to avoid stressing out and clamming up.
Q3 – Won’t my breathing make me sound more nervous than I already am?
A3 – No, the perception will be that you are truly considering your words. Breathing adds gravitas and authenticity.
Q4 – How do I avoid getting tongue-tied when talking about my book?
A4 – Your mind and your mouth will always work at two different speeds. Speaking slowly gives you time to align your thoughts.
Q5 – How can I hope to speak as well as I write?
A5 – The key is to distill all the words you are compelled to write into brief statements. I call them “bumper stickers”. These are the stories that define you.
Q6 – How do I come up with my bumper stickers?
A6 – You discover them by trusting your perspective and sharing your experiences. Don’t talk about your awards, talk about what it felt like to receive them.
Q7 – How do I keep from rambling?
A7 – Work on the button to each of your stories. The button completes the thought.
Q8 – What are some good buttons to use?
A8 – They can be simple: “And that’s why I wrote the book.” or, “Most people say it’s an easy read and very informative.”
Q9 – What if the interviewer doesn’t realize I’m done answering a question?
A9 – Slow down near the end of the sentence and “stick… the… landing”. This signals to the interviewer that you have completed your thought.
Q10 – How do I avoid sounding like I’m bragging, or boring?
A10a – Talk about your motivations and your experiences.
A10b – Explain your need to write the book
A10c – Describe the biggest obstacle to writing the book
A10d – Who do you believe will love the book?
Q11 – Are there any additional tips for a phone interview?
A11 – Gesturing has a positive effect on your delivery even when your audience can only hear you. You can even walk around for extra forward momentum.
Q12 – Are there any tips for a Skype interview?
A12a – Always wear solid colors when Skyping. Stripes and patterns can cause a strobing effect that is very distracting.
A12b – Never look too far away from the camera. An inch looks like a mile on camera.
Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge: How to energize your book sales in a month - created to help authors market their book. She is also the author of Broken Places (one of IndieReader's "Best of 2015" top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in the San Francisco Book Festival), and the multi award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post, IndieReader.com, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly. Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs, #BookMarketingChat (co-hosted with Melissa Flickinger) and #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish all live Twitter chats. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.