Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Writers as speakers

The dreaded speaking engagement,
an introverted writer’s worst nightmare!

Unfortunately (for many of us), being asked--make that being expected--to speak is just one more aspect of life after (and very often before) publication. Whether it’s giving an inspirational or motivational talk to the local seniors group or service club, or sharing from your well of writing experience at a writers group meeting or conference workshop, at some point you may be called upon to dig deep and find the courage to step up to the microphone and speak.

Why, you may ask, when you’d so much rather just hide behind your computer screen and write?

For one thing, speaking is among a writer’s best tools for [insert scary music here]


Yes, a writer’s three favorite words, right up there next to




For many of us, even the most html-challenged, creating a Web site or thinking up fascinating blog posts is TONS less intimidating than speaking in front of an audience.

A recent random poll of my Seeker sisters revealed some interesting insights into our attitudes toward public speaking.

Take Ruthy, for instance. Ruthy, as you may have noticed, is just a wee bit outgoing. On a scale of 1 to 10, her “public speaking scare factor” ranks way down at a teensy-weensy 1. She admits to getting a little nervous immediately before a talk but says that’s just normal.

Our poised and prolific Debby is only slightly higher on the scare factor scale, rating herself around a 3--as long as she has plenty of prep and practice time.

Janet says she’s “all over the place.” She may start out at a 1 when she first agrees to speak, but the closer it gets, the higher her scare factor rises. “The day of the speech, I'm a wreck and ask for prayer. But once I arrive and get involved, I calm down and enjoy myself. At least so far.”

For Missy, it depends upon the occasion. She’s a 6 for smaller groups and civic organizations, an 8 for large groups like her RWA chapter, and a whopping 10 when asked to speak for her church’s women’s group! At one point, her daughter was afraid Mom was about to hyperventilate!

Sandra doesn’t seemed at all fazed by the idea of speaking--but then she’s our intrepid explorer and mountain biker.

I’d probably rate myself at a 5--and that’s only if I have lots of prep time and extensive notes. If I had to speak off the cuff, that number would zip right up to a 10+!

Others among us, I know for a fact, shiver in their stilettos at the mere idea of speaking in front of an audience. But when called upon, we swallow our fears and--as the slogan goes--just do it.

Platform, name recognition, and book sales may top the list of reasons why we torture ourselves like this. But Ruthy reminds us that speaking to groups offers an excellent opportunity to look our readers in the eye, shake their hands, and get to know them as real people. Debby also enjoys meeting readers as she shares her faith along with her writing journey.

Missy says she actually enjoys speaking once she gets started. She and Janet both enjoy talking about their writing and books. They also agree it isn’t about the honorarium or other forms of compensation but about connecting with their readers.

When you weigh the “scary stuff” against the benefits, it’s easy to see why authors (even the shy, retiring ones) pull up their big-girl (or boy) panties and seek out (or at least don’t immediately say no to) speaking opportunities. Here are a few Seeker tips to ensure a successful speaking engagement:
  • Know who your audience will be--readers, writers, a ladies’ church group? How you approach your topic will depend upon your audience’s expectations.
  • Print out the text of your speech in a large font and practice often until it starts to feel natural. Time your talk to make sure it fits into the time allotted. (Remember, when you’re nervous, you may tend to speak faster.)
  • If at all possible, get comfortable enough with your talk to speak from notes rather than the full text. You can also highlight specific points and transitions on the printed speech so you can glance at it for a quick reminder.
  • Place your printed speech or notes in a notebook rather than on notecards. If you drop loose pages or notecards, you may find you’re missing a page or your notes are out of order!
  • If you’re doing a PowerPoint presentation or using other visuals, practice with them ahead of time. Arrange to visit the speaking location in advance to make sure you have all necessary hookups and instructions on how to operate the equipment.
  • Dress professionally but comfortably. Before leaving home, check your attire from every angle and under direct lighting. You don’t want peekaboo underwear or a drooping hem!
  • Upon arriving at your speaking venue, allow time to mix and mingle. It’s much easier talking to new friends than to a room full of strangers.
  • If you’re eating at the event, be sure not to stuff yourself! Avoid any foods that you know will cause you allergy problems like increased sinus drainage or a “froggy” throat.
  • In the days leading up to the event, and especially just before you speak, pray for calmness and the ability to focus.
  • Make sure you have a glass of water at the podium. Throats can get really dry after several minutes of talking, especially when nerves are involved.
  • Make eye contact around the room while speaking. And speak loudly and clearly. Slow down and BREATHE!
  • At the beginning of your talk, be sure to thank the organizers and anyone else responsible for inviting you.
  • Learn to laugh at yourself when you make mistakes (because you will!), and trust the audience to laugh along with (not at) you, knowing they want you to do well.
  • Personal stories are always well received. Think about just being yourself and making a connection with your audience. Focus on making the audience comfortable. No one will enjoy a speaker who looks terrified!
  • Consider offering a prize giveaway, such as a basket of your books, at the end of your talk. Have 3x5 cards available for people to sign up for the drawing as they arrive. (This could also be an opportunity to add names to your newsletter mailing list.)
  • Allow time for questions at the end of your talk. Thank audience and the organizers.
I know, I know, one big issue we haven’t addressed yet is what on earth you’ll talk about! This is less of a problem when speaking to a group of writers. Writers always want to know how other writers do it--plotting, characterization, description, how you organize your work, etc.

But if you’re asked to speak to groups who are mostly readers (you hope!), it can be a little harder to narrow down a topic. Even so, most people are fascinated with the life of a writer--everything from where we get our ideas, to how long it takes to write a book, to what a manuscript goes through during the editing and publishing process.

Janet and others have found this especially true when speaking to book clubs. “Speaking to them energizes me,” Janet says. “I've even had book clubs do lovely things like replicating a meal from one of my books or decorating with hats in honor of my milliner heroine.”

Another no-fail topic is the story of our writing journey. Most of us who’ve gotten this far have had to persevere in the face of rejection, discouragement, and hope deferred. As Christians, we can speak of the role of faith on the journey, or of the serendipitous moments and “divine appointments” only God could have orchestrated.

Missy most enjoys talking about persistence and the first sale, and she loves to be an encourager to others. She still a little intimidated speaking to writers or teaching conference workshops because she feels like she’s still learning so much--yet she loves to teach. And the truth is, no matter where you are on your writing journey, there’s always someone who can gain from the benefit of your experience.

One of Ruthy’s favorite talks begins something like this. Holding up her first published book, Winter’s End, she says:
"They told me no one would ever publish a romance about death. But then," and I hold up the second book (Waiting Out the Storm), "they told me they'd never publish an interracial romance..." and then I hold up the third book (Made to Order Family): "But then they told me that no one is ever, ever, ever going to publish a book about two alcoholics trying to make a go of it.

"It appears THEY were wrong."
Finally, here are some resources that may help you prepare for the inevitable author’s speaking engagement:

CLASServices Inc.

Toastmasters International

Connect! A Simple Guide to Public Speaking for Writers, by Linda C. Apple

If you’re a writer with speaking experience, what are your favorite tips and resources?

If you’re a writer who’s dreading that first speaking engagement, share your questions and fears.

Leave your e-mail address in a comment for a chance to win a copy of Linda Apple’s book!


Helen Gray said...

Coffee pot's on!

Believe it or not, speaking doesn't intimidate me as much as the idea of keeping a blog fresh.

Years of teaching,directing music, performing with my dummy, and doing a few concerts have taught me a lot. But I have to have prepared material in front of me to be comfortable. And I still get the quivers just before time to go on stage.


Vince said...

Hi Myra:

I can endorse everything you have suggested. I believe I have used all of them over the years.

There are ‘hard’ rooms and ‘easy’ rooms. I have found that very short humor and the use of famous quotes works as an effective icebreaker. It also helps to look everyone in the room in the eye and smile. Look at people with the though in mind that you approve of them. Say to yourself, “I approve of this person.” People pick up on this immediately. People like to be looked on approvingly.

It also helps to get a little two-way communication going as soon as possible. Ask questions to keep people awake. “Do we have any writers here today?” “Do we have any doctors or nurses in the room?” “Who has traveled the furthest to attend today?” “Is there any one thing you wanted me to cover today? I might be able to work it into my talk.”

Think of the different ways you can help the people in the audience. For example, ways to get free things or useful information. For a romance author, I’d like a topic like: “Here’s five ways to get more enjoyment from reading a romance.”

I also think it helps to have a purpose and a goal. Not only will I try to inspire people to some good cause with my speech, I will also provide a way for my listeners to follow up on what I spoke about. “As you leave you’ll find literature, memberships forms, and sample newsletters.”

These are just a few things I do when I give talks and they have worked well for me.



Edwina said...

This is a great article and very timely for me as I prepare to attend the She Speaks Conference - Speakers Track. I've taught classes for years and prefer to speak from a script - but I practice that script until I can speak and look at it only occasionally.

Helen, thanks for the coffee - much needed at this hour of the AM!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Myra, I am printing this off first thing and I'll tell you exactly why:

So when I teach people to get over their fear of speaking, or to look at it from another angle or POV, I have one of the best, well-thought scenarios of the whole thing in my hot little hand, and YES, I will give you full credit.

This is beyond wonderful because it's concise, totally unjaded, yet amazingly thorough.


And Helen, THANK YOU for the coffee. Now just a little more Italian Sweet Cream...

Ah. There. Yum. ;)

And Vince, I concur. Some rooms are easier than others. Hard rooms give me somethin' to talk about the next time...

THEM. ;)

Hey, breakfast is served and it's bountiful because we're toppin' out around 80+ and then back to the nineties (and we all know I whine like crazy with the nineties...)


Baked French toast with cheesy/custard filling and real maple syrup.

Fresh cooked sausage... patties or links. (I'm a patty-girl)

Scrambled eggs with cheese...

Parmesan Texas toast with herb/garlic butter....

Fruit tray courtesy of local growers, we LOVE fruit in season up north...

And fresh-squeezed orange juice courtesy of Florida, hosts of RWA-Orlando...

Nashville, still praying for you daily. Wishin' it was there.

Lisa Jordan said...

Terrific post, Myra. Thanks for sharing.

The first time my pastor's wife asked me to speak for our ladies' Christmas luncheon, I said no without hesitating. The next morning she and my pastor were giving a presentation about their recent trip to Swaziland. I felt God speaking to me and asking why I said no without asking Him first. I told him I was too nervous. He asked me, "Who gave you that mouth? Who will give you the words? I was there for Moses, wasn't I?" After church, I told Jo I'd speak, and God opened a whole new door of opportunity to me because I trusted Him to be my mouth.

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

TV interviews get me b/c I don't like the way I look on TV. And once it's taped, it can be replayed over and over again--all your mistakes. But speaking is a great platform builder. Great post.

Kav said...

Frankly, the whole idea of public speaking gives me the shudders...but even as I say that I have to admit to doing a lot of it at church. Motivational talks to women's groups, presentations to children's Sunday School, even storytelling to the entire congregation at Christmas time. It occurs to me that all those experiences have laid the groundwork for public speaking without me realizing it. I bet that's the case for a lot of people too. Though I have to admit to being extremely thankful that there will be absolutely no career related speaking engagements in my future for yeeeeaaaarrrsssss to come since I've just started taking baby steps towards my writing journey. :-)

Terri Tiffany said...

Public speaking is my worst fear but I know it's something I need to do. I took Toastmasters for awhile and it helped but still the fear remains. Thanks for a great article!

Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

Myra, this was so good. And since I will never speak, I am enjoying it with zero nail biting!!

Although there is the possibility of my running for President..hmmm.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hey, Myra! I'm not sure where I am on the fear scale, because I've never had to do any public speaking. I do know that the three times I've approached book store managers about my book or doing a possible book signing, I was scared to death. I'm always afraid of looking like an idiot and embarrassing myself! But at least at a speaking event you're SUPPOSED to make people laugh! I can poke fun at myself and I think that will make it less scary. At a book signing, how can you laugh at yourself? I'm still scared to death about that.

Pam Hillman said...

Great topic, Myra! I haven't had a lot of opportunity (or need) to speak regarding my writing, but a few years ago we implemented a program at church where the ladies and the youth group take turns speaking on Wednesday night at church.

There are about 12 of us, so we rotate about every 3 months.

It's given me the opp to get used to speaking in front of 30-40 people of all ages.

Pam Hillman said...

Oh, and I forgot to mention that I'm a Purchasing Manager in my day job, and have had the opp (or misfortuned, as the case may be) of speaking one-on-one to lots of sales people the last 13 years.

I'm very confident in my topic of the products I'm buying because I know what I need, but...

I've learned to look the salesman in the eye and tell him/her that I have no clue what their talking about if I really don't know.

So, even though I don't claim to be a speaker, I know that I'm much more articulate if I know my topic inside and out.

Pepper Basham said...

Great post, Myra.
I use lots of those tips on a weekly basis as a university instructor :-)

I think one thing I have to shrug off is the ever-present 'sleeper' in the lecture :-) Taking it personally only causes me to get more nervous and become so over-animated I might look a bit ridiculous (er...or more ridiculous than usual :-)

Believe it or not, even after nine years as a college instructor, I still get nervous the very first time I'm in front of a new group of students. And if I'm in front of collegues (like I'd be at a writer's conference...eeek), ramp up the nervousness x 2.

Depending on audience and subject matter, I'd rate my 'fear' level anywhere between a 2-4.

Thanks for the great insights.

Julie Lessman said...

Myra, what a GREAT subject and blog!!

I like to joke that I am "a recluse who has the misfortune of having an outgoing personality," which means that although I don't have any problem speaking, I am not real crazy about it. However, don't tell that to the groups I've spoken to who have had to literally cane me off stage ...

Like Ruthy, I think this is an excellent blog to print off for those at ease at speaking and those who are not.


Sandra Leesmith said...

Great topic Myra, How clever of you to find one we haven't touched on yet. That's a challenge in itself. smile

I can vouch for CLASSseminars.Inc . They are wonderful at preparing you. They are the same people that put on Glorieta Christian Writers Conference. The seminars are Christian based and that brings in God's help, as Lisa Jordan mentioned.

That's my main help. I really pray ahead of time and it seems the Holy spirit just brings it forth.

The trick there is to listen. LOL

KC Frantzen said...

Good one Myra,
You covered the topic so well!

I was blessed with an outgoing personality, due in part to my parents I think. They instilled confidence in me that I could do whatever I needed to do with the Lord's backing.

That and my first grade teacher, Mrs. Corinne Strickland. I just ran across the book that LITERALLY changed my life: An Acorn in My Hand. (She used Ethel Bouldin's techniques in my first grade class. It had such a positive impact on my life, that when she decided to form her own school, my parents helped do that and I had her as my 2nd grade teacher as well.) Dad found it at a resale shop for FREE (!) and snagged it for me. (There are several on Amazon and eBay so there are some available.) The first several chapters speak directly to building confidence so - for those of us long, LONG past first grade, and those of us wanting to make a difference to the young 'uns in our periphery, do yourself a favor and get this book. Perhaps we can help the next generation overcome a fear of speaking! :)

One thing I do is use a highlighter on my notes and I actually bold points where I need to slow down and breathe. It helps me anyway because I tend to talk too fast when I'm keyed up/nervous.

I do get a bit of the jitters but wholeheartedly agree with the previous posts here: practice what you want to say (in the mirror a couple of times too!), watch what you eat/drink before, have water available, have some things to show, speak distinctly and add some humor... etc.

Keep in mind that the audience DOES want you to do well and it helps me if I think about what they would want to know that only I can tell them at that moment.

God DOES give us the message, HIS message, and He has us there for a reason. We just never know how we will impact even one person that day for Him. It sure takes a lot of pressure off for me.

Thanks so much. Seekerville is the BEST! Y'all enjoy your day and thanks so much for breakfast!

Mary Connealy said...

I hate public speaking.


Kathy said...

What a wonderful post, Myra! Very well organized and to the point.

I enjoy speaking - once I get started. Thinking about it in advance is the tough part. So I try to prep really well.

I also highlight my notes - places to pause etc.

Vince, I love the idea of looking at people with approval. I think it is an excellent point. It would be the same at a book signing. Take an honest interest in people and they will respond positively.

A final thought is about feeling foolish - I take it as a matter of course that I will look foolish when I speak. I remember that I have committed myself to being okay with becoming a fool for Christ. I try to remember why I am there and that my audience is more important than I am. These thoughts help me actually enjoy the experience.

Where did you put the coffee, again?

Mary Connealy said...

I see I am not quoted in this. I suspect it's because you asked for comments--I have some vague, semi-hysterical amnesia buried memory of this and I was too frightened to respond.

I am so happy behind my computer. I'm so witting in email.
I love the delete button.

Myra Johnson said...

Good morning, Seekerville! As usual, a bunch of you arrived much earlier. My excuse this time is overnight house guests who just left a little while ago. Thanks for putting on the coffee, Helen! Great breakfast spread as usual, your Ruthy-ness!

Vince, I love that--looking at each audience member with approval. I know it feels good to me when I'm in the audience and I get that feeling from the speaker.

Myra Johnson said...

Tina for president. Hmmmm. Yes, you have my vote. But I think you may have to give a few campaign speeches and State of the Union addresses.

Myra Johnson said...

LOL, Sandra, yes, I was scraping around for a fresh blog topic, and since I'd just spoken at a local writers group, the experience was definitely on my mind!

I've been aware of the CLASSeminars for years and have always wanted to attend sometime. I've heard so many success stories. It sounds great!

A few of you have mentioned using bold in your printed talks to remind you about pausing, breathing, etc. I do the exact same thing! Or, as in my talk I just did, I had a computer slide presentation, so I inserted boldface instructions about when to click to the next slide.

Myra Johnson said...

Mary, you are so observant. No, you did not send me a speaking quote or tips or ANYTHING. I did not expect you to. I already know how you feel about speaking. So you are mentioned in passing as one of those who are "quaking in their stilettos" at the mere thought of speaking.

Anne Barton said...

My public speaking fear factor = 9.5 . . . but I did manage to give a talk a few months ago. The audience, made up of readers (but not necessarily romance readers), couldn't have been sweeter.

PowerPoint helped me a lot. A few funny pictures and quotes broke the ice, and I was calmer knowing that if I lost my way the slides would get me back on track.

These are really great tips, Myra. I wish I'd had them before, and I'm sure I'll refer to them again. Thanks! :)

Regina Merrick said...

Thanks for this post, Myra. Speaking is a tough one, and it does depend on the kind of "room" you find yourself in. I can sing, play the piano, direct music, but put me in front of a microphone and expect scintillating information to come forth from my mouth? Please. I don't even like to hear myself talk, why would anyone else? I did MC a "Meet the Authors" event at my library a few months ago that was FUN. I just had to introduce the nine local writers, ask questions, then interact with the authors AND the audience. As nervous and queasy as I was before I got behind the podium, I found myself, two hours later, amazed that I'd had such a good time. Being unpubbed still, I haven't been asked to speak about my writing, but someday.....

And if I showed up in stilettos, I'd not only be shaking in them, I'd be falling off of them! LOL

Vince said...

Hi Myra:

I would have loved to hear you speak! I could have even covered your talk on my blog.

Please let me know the next time you give a talk to the locals. : )

vmres (at) swbell (dot) net.


Myra Johnson said...

LOL, Regina, you won't find me in stilettos either! But "shaking in your stilettos" sounds so much classier than "shaking in your sensible pumps."

Although I guess any nervous guy speakers would not be wearing stilettos either. Shaking in their wingtips? Their cowboy boots? Their running shoes?

Myra Johnson said...

Thanks, Vince! I may have mentioned that speaking engagement on my Facebook page. I talked about my novel planning Excel workbook system. In excruciating detail.

Myra Johnson said...

Some of you have commented that agreeing to speak was really scary but once you were up there speaking, it turned out to be much less intimidating than you expected.

I think that's very true. The things we dread the most often turn out to be not nearly as awful as we feared.

Tina said...

This is all great advice. I found that when I first started speaking, I was terrified. I still get nervous, but you just have to go for it and believe you have something to offer your listeners. And be prepared. The times I didn't feel confident, I had chosen a topic I was not an expert at. Stick to what we know when speaking. :-)

karenk said...

a great posting!!!!

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

mary bailey said...

This is a very helpful post. I don't know if I'll ever speak in regards to writing, other than teaching a children's class, but I do have to speak several times a year at my church. Sometimes it doesn't bother me at all and other times I am terrified!


Vince said...

Hi Myra:

Some of you have commented that agreeing to speak was really scary but once you were up there speaking, it turned out to be much less intimidating than you expected.

This is really the main reason for Toastmaster’s success. The program very slowly gets members to give ‘talks’ to the group. The first talk is just a 3-minute talk about yourself. It’s called an icebreaker. It doesn’t take long before new members figure out that nothing terrible is going to happen to them just because they are at the lectern. Once they figure this out, it is often hard to shut them up! : ) The timekeeper has to ring a bell! We never had a cane but if Ruth came to speak, we might invest in one. : )

I think for the same reason Church groups have done as much as Toastmasters in helping people become more comfortable speaking in public.

About the fear of public speaking: “There’s little to it -- once you do it”.


Myra Johnson said...

Tina, that's a very good point--make sure you speak on a topic that's within your areas of expertise. Or else do a lot of studying!

Mary Bailey, I am just dying to know what you look like in real life!!!!

Vince, my son-in-law joined a Toastmasters group a couple of years ago and had a blast. He's naturally outgoing, but it helped him gain confidence for presentations he has to do as part of his job.

Mary Connealy said...

I think I'm going to start holding up Ruthy's books at my speeches and saying, "I told her she'd never get a romance novel published about death."

I can use them as in indication of how little I know.

Just one way to go. I've got a speech Wednesday night. Prayers appreciated.

Myra Johnson said...

Mary, I think it would just be easier if we pay Ruthy to pretend she's us and let her do ALL our speaking for us.

Debby Giusti said...

Great post! I took notes!

Speaking of allergic reactions or such...at a GRW Moonlight and Magnolia's Conference a number of years ago, I was giving a workshop with my agent. Unfortunately, I had a problem with my back and needed to be on muscle relaxers. Little did I realize when I took the pill at lunch prior to the talk that the meds would dry my mouth to cotton.

Turned out to be the hardest speech I've ever tried to give. My mouth literally stuck together.

Kelly Freestone said...

Great post!
I really enjoyed it.
Thanks for sharing :D

Angela Bell said...

My public speaking scare factor is a 10 1/2. Or maybe a 12. I'm always afraid I'll say something stupid.

I agree with Mrs. Connealy. The delete button is amazing. :)


Carrie Turansky said...

Hi Myrya,
this is great advice! Thanks so much. I am attending She Speaks Conference later this month, and I know these tips will give me a head start on preparing.

Myra Johnson said...

Oh, my, Debby! The things we don't think of! Glad you made it through that experience.

Yes, Angela, it's too bad God didn't give us a delete button for the spoken word. Sometimes I think my foot is permanently stuck in my mouth.

Carrie, you'll have to tell us more about this She Speaks conference. I hadn't heard of it before today. Sounds interesting!

Lynda Schab said...

I so needed this today. I am scheduled to teach not one, but TWO workshops for the very first time at a writer's conference in August (don't even ASK me why I agreed to two). Public speaking is my biggest fear (equal to spiders) and I envision myself having a nervous breakdown in the middle of the class (OK...coming against that thought right now). However, I was in several high school plays and that never bothered me. But speaking is so much different than acting.

Your tips are great. I will probably re-read them a few (dozen) times before the conference. Fortunately, I'll have time to mingle the night before and I know several people who will be in my class. Although, I'm not sure if that's a good thing. Total strangers might be easier. Eek!

Valerie Comer said...

I have a love/hate relationship with public speaking, but hope to do more of it in the future. I'd love to read this book.

valerie at valeriecomer dot com

Glynna Kaye said...

Great ideas, Myra! I haven't done any "public speaking" except for presentations at work. Can't say it's my favorite thing to do and fortunately I don't have to do it often, but I DO love to talk about books and writing so maybe that would make a difference! At work, I've always tried to remember to open with a "what's in it for me" angle--meaning, letting my 'audience' know that there's some "takeaway" for THEM by listening to what I'm sharing.

Myra Johnson said...

Lynda, I also did some acting in high school plays and loved it! I try to think of speaking as just another "role" to play, with my speech as the "script." Learn your lines, play the part of a confident speaker, and you've got it made!

Valerie, many of the tips in this post can also be found Linda Apple's book, plus a whole lot more! I heard her speak at a conference last spring and learned a lot.

What's in it for the audience--a great attitude for making your talk relevant and interesting! Good suggestion, Glynna!

Lori Benton said...

Oh boy. My mind blanks and I stutter when two or three of my closest friends give me their full attention while I speak on something for more than twenty seconds. I'd say my scare factor is off the scale.

Audra Harders said...

Sorry I"m so late to the party, Myra! I guess the 100 degree heat kinda warped my brain.

Excellent ideas and methods for public speaking. Personally, it scares me to death.

A couple of your comments really resignated for me. Eye contact is so important. It calms your nerves to have someone return the contact and nod or smile. Works wonders.

Also, dress comfortably. Most of the public speaking I do is in front of kids and their parents at 4-H meetings. I know I have a harder time getting through my meeting if I have to run in straight from work instead of going home and changing into jeans.

Good post, Myra. Gotta keep stretching out of our comfort zone, right??

Patty Wysong said...

Public speaking is something I'm sloooowly learning and accepting. *shiver* I have to almost strap myself in so I don't rattle off my chair, but leading a small Bible Study is helping me tremendously. Next month we'll see how much it's helping when I'm teaching at the same time Lynda is. =]

Thanks for this post Myra! I'll be coming back to it.

Patty Wysong said...

and I forgot to leave my email. *eye roll* patterly(at)gmail(dot)com

Myra Johnson said...

Lori, I feel your pain. I sometimes think I am the world's worst conversationalist. That's why speaking to a group is actually easier because I can just read my notes that I've already slaved over for weeks and weeks to make sure I say exactly what I mean.

Audra, I think all speeches should be given in jeans and a baggy T-shirt!

You know, Patty, I think I'd rather give a prepared talk than have to lead a Bible study! I admire you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks to those of you who mentioned CLASSeminars. I agree it is the best speaker training around. Someone also mentioned the CLASS Glorieta Christian Writers Conference. It is no longer held at Glorieta but is still a wonderful conference. This year the CLASS Christian Writers Conference is November 10-14 and is held at the Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, NM. Bruce Wilkinson is the keynote. We would love to have all of you attend. More info at CLASSeminars.org and click on writers conference.

Myra Johnson said...

Thanks for the information, Linda!