Why Public Speaking Is So Important for Authors

Public speaking? The very words scare most people. But if you are an author—or want to become one—you need to get serious about your speaking. It can directly impact your success as a writer.

A Speaker in Front of an Audience - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/vm, Image #2558258

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/vm

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Here’s why:

  1. Public speaking is a way to discover what resonates with your audience.
  2. Public speaking is a way to build your personal brand.
  3. Public speaking is a way to prove to your prospective publisher that you have a platform.
  4. Public speaking is a way to promote your books.
  5. Public speaking is another way to monetize your content.

But where do you start?

About a year-and-a-half ago, I attended the Professional Communicators Summit in Nashville, Tennessee. The conference is designed to assist leaders in either starting a professional public speaking career or taking it to the next level. The next conference will also be held in Nashville on October 18-20, 2010.

As someone who does a fair amount of public speaking myself, I was confident I could benefit personally from the Summit. However, I also thought I could use this information with many of the authors I publish as the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers. I was right on both counts.

The conference is sponsored by Ken Davis. In case you are not familiar with Ken, he is a very popular public speaker and comedian. He has had a significant, wide-reaching career. He is also a student of speaking and, especially, the business of speaking. He has distilled everything he has learned in 30-plus years of professional speaking and used it to take hundreds of other speakers to the next level.

While you can find programs to help you become a better public speaker, this is the only one I know of that will help you build a speaking career. Over the course of three days, you will learn four keys to finding success as a speaker:

  1. Discover your assets. In this session, you will take inventory of your talents and gifts. You will review your own content and platform. I promise, you will discover that you have much more to work with than you may think.
  2. Design your products. Your “products” are a direct result of packaging and selling your assets. You will explore the four different kinds of products:
    • Presentations (or speeches) that you deliver at someone else’s event
    • Workshops or conferences that you host yourself
    • Resources that capture or expand upon your live presentation (e.g. books, DVDs, CDs, etc.)
    • Services that extend your live presentation (e.g., consulting, coaching, counseling, etc.)
  3. Promote your products. You will learn exactly what meeting planners are looking for and how to think about your products from their point-of-view. You will also understand how to develop effective promotional materials and learn the pluses and minuses of speakers bureaus and booking agents.
  4. Determine your value. You will discover why you should charge for your services and how much you should charge. You will learn about a concept called “high bar/low bar” that really takes the stress out of taking about money with potential clients.

Ken is not the only instructor at the event. I will be speaking on the topic of “Platform: What It Is, Why You Need It, and How to Build It.” My friends, Randy Elrod and Spence Smith will also be speaking.

If you have been thinking about “going pro” by either starting a public speaking career or taking your existing career to the next level, this is the conference for you. Ken has also agreed to make a special offer to my readers. Register now and get a $100 discount. To take advantage of this offer, enter the word “HYATT” as the Promotion Code when you register.

Questions: Have you ever thought about a career as a professional speaker? If you are already speaking professionally, have you thought about taking it to the next level?

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