Public Speaking for Authors, Creatives and Other Introverts
eBook - ePub

Public Speaking for Authors, Creatives and Other Introverts

Second Edition

Joanna Penn

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eBook - ePub

Public Speaking for Authors, Creatives and Other Introverts

Second Edition

Joanna Penn

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About This Book

Are you an author or creative preparing for success? Do you want to learn to speak effectively in front of an audience?

All successful creatives have to speak and present in public, whether that's at a festival, on a podcast or radio show, or as part of earning multiple streams of income.

But you don't have to be like Tony Robbins, bouncing around on stage with a booming voice and larger than life personality.

You just have to be you and tell your story in your own way.

In this book, I'll share everything I know as a professional speaker, author and introvert. It includes the practicalities of speaking, as well as mindset issues like anxiety, plus the business side if you want to make speaking an income stream. You will discover:

PART 1: Practicalities of Speaking

Types of speaking, deciding on your topic, preparation, managing your energy, tips for slide packs, handouts, workbooks and more, personal presentation, giving the talk, managing people, panels, feedback and testimonials, performance tips, improving your speaking over time

PART 2: Mindset

Tackling anxiety, growing your confidence and authenticity

PART 3: The Speaking Business

How to get speaking events, running your own events, marketing, generosity and networking with others, your speaker brand, website and speaker's page, professional photos, email marketing, content marketing, social media, video, audio, how much to charge, increasing your revenue streams, financial considerations.

If you want to learn how to speak effectively in front of an audience, sample or buy now.

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Part III

Practicalities of the speaking business

3.1 How to get speaking work

One of the major things that stop introverts getting speaking engagements is fear of pitching, cold calling and the hard-core sales process that many speakers say you have to do in order to get work. But with the magic of the internet, that is no longer the case, and introverts may actually have the advantage online, as we find it easier to express ourselves alone at a screen.
Here are some of the ways in which you can attract speaking work if you want to make it an income-generating part of your creative business.

(1) Make it clear that you’re a speaker

It can be hard to claim the word at first, but if you want to be a speaker, you need to start by saying it out loud and making it clear in your online presence. Add a speaking page to your website and include the word ‘Speaker’ on your business card. When you meet people, say that you’re a speaker, and add it to your email signature.

(2) Attract attention online

Blogging and creating audio or video, as well as connecting on social media can attract opportunities instead of you having to seek them out. This is certainly not a short cut, as it takes a lot of work to build this kind of presence online, but it’s a great way to do it if you’re not keen on pitching. There’s more on content marketing later in this section.
95% of my speaking work has happened because of my blog and social media presence, and adventurer Alastair Humphreys credits it for his success too.
“I made the decision to blog properly and to really start blogging a lot and to spread my word through the blog ecosystem and all the aspects of online marketing. That made the biggest difference of all, I think, for both my fees and my number of talks.”

(3) Volunteer for free speaking events

When you first get started, it’s a good idea to speak for free. This will build your confidence and, if you do a good job, it might lead to other opportunities. You never know who might be in the audience that day, who they know or how they are connected. You just have to put yourself out there.

(4) Go to networking events

Introverts are more comfortable with one-on-one conversations, so networking events can be intimidating, especially when you walk into a room of noisy people. Although you may need to psych yourself up for it (as I do), networking events are a fantastic way to meet new people, and there will likely be other introverts in the room feeling the way you are too. Start a conversation on the edges of the main gathering, and you’ll soon get into the swing of it.
Ensure that you network in your target market. For example, I speak to those people running small businesses and individuals who want to become creative entrepreneurs, so there’s no point in me networking with employees who are happy working in large corporates because that’s not currently my target market.
You can find many networking events locally or on, but you can also find groups online using twitter hashtags or discussion groups on Facebook or LinkedIn.

(5) Pitch for speaking events

Many conferences and events will open for pitches six months before the event, so you can submit your proposal for a talk if you keep an eye out for opportunities. These are often online forms, so there’s no pitching in person, a relief for introverts! You’ll need an appropriate and catchy topic as well as a good speaking page with testimonials so that the conference organizers can find out more about you. This method is how I got the opportunity to speak at the London Book Fair a few years ago.
It can be useful to attend a conference first before pitching to speak, so you understand the audience expectations and the vibe.

(6) Speaking bureaux

More established speakers may want to join a bureau or agency or work with an agent. They work on commission, so you’ll need to be making a significant amount per talk in order to make it worthwhile, but they can often get you work if you have an appropriate topic.
Of course, you can also pitch in person and network with conference organizers, but the options above are probably best for introverts!

3.2 Running your own public events

It’s easier than ever to organize your own events with online tools these days. It’s a great way to increase your revenue, as you get a greater percentage of income by running the event yourself. Here are some points to take into consideration.

Ticketing is the most well-known ticketing service, and it also has built-in marketing, as people are notified of events in their area. You can set up deadlines, early bird pricing, discount codes, number limits, and everything you need for an event, including sales tax details. There’s a Facebook app for direct booking and social amplification, and people can pay by credit card or PayPal as well as using mobile check-in.
Eventbee is a competitor to Eventbrite and offers all of the same functionality as well as specific seating numbering, which may be appropriate in a small number of cases. It also works out cheaper if you’re using the PayPal option, and both sites charge a per ticket fee.
If you have your own website and already sell products, you can use your own online store or even just a PayPal button. I have used e-Junkie, SELZ, and Payhip to create my own PDF tickets with just a button on my site.
As an introvert, I hate calling on the phone to book something, so I will generally not book if it has to be done with a phone call. Always have an online option if you’re running your own events.


If you live in a large city, then you can often sort the venue out after the initial ticket sales, as there are so many options for meeting spaces. This means that you can use some of the ticket money for the venue deposit. But if you’re just starting out, you will need to do some venue scouting first.
Here are some questions to consider when choosing a venue:
  • Is it close to transport hubs and/or parking?
  • Is it close to amenities for food or coffee for breaks and lunch? (or you need to ensure that there’s adequate catering included)
  • Does the room have enough space for your audience without being cramped?
  • Is there a break-out space for eating, coffee or breaks and somewhere for smokers or vaping?
  • Does it have natural light and adequate airflow, especially for full-day events? You’ll also need the capacity for shade or blackout if you’re using slides or showing videos.
  • Does it have proper temperature control, heating, or aircon, depending on your location?
  • Does it have the required technology, for example, screen and projector? Do you need a tech person to help set up?
  • Does it have appropriate accessibility for those who need it?
One of the worst venues I have worked in was a box room with no natural light and no temperature control for a full day. The energy drain was tremendous, and maintaining attention in the afternoon was practically impossible. When you visit a venue, try to imagine it full of people and then make decisions based on that. You can also note down a...

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