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Enunciation is a skill worth developing in your effort to market your books

I once had a colleague who was a voice coach. Her business, in fact, was Vocal Intelligence. Pam regularly asserted that people who learn to properly enunciate are perceived to be more intelligent – whether they are or not – and, more often than not achieve more promotions and professional accolades than lazy speakers who have not bothered to develop proper vocal skills.

"Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve every word before you let it fall." — Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

“Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve every word before you let it fall.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

I was recently discussing this concept with some friends and colleagues and was reminded of a man I met in Toastmasters who runs a pitching school for aspiring baseball players. He had once upon a time made it to The Big Show, pitching 3.2 innings (11 outs for those keeping track) for the Boston Red Sox in the 1970s. This fellow didn’t stay with Toastmasters long, but one of his big enunciation boo-boos has stayed with me because it was memorable. Unfortunately, I’m sure he’s not alone in committing it.

One teaching tool in Toastmasters is the assignment of a “grammarian” at every meeting, one person whose job it is to listen for excellent uses of grammar, as well as those instances that could use some improvement. One time as grammarian, I caught my ballplayer friend using the term “ahmunna.” Any guesses as to what he was actually trying to say? How about I AM GOING TO? Five syllables condensed down to two or three, depending. Now he may be going gangbusters with his pitching school, but I can virtually guarantee he’d do even better if he made proper vocal skills a priority.

And so can you, when it comes to pitching (ha – what a great tie-in/pun!) your book. Whether you are speaking one-on-one in a 30-second elevator speech, giving a 30-second commercial at your favorite networking group, giving a radio or television interview, or giving a workshop or keynote speech, your enunciation should be a key component of your speaking (and marketing) strategy.

Want an example of the difference between excellent enunciation and someone who sloppily drops their -ings at the ends of words? Just go out into the world and start listening. In fact, read the last few sentences out loud in your natural style. Don’t over- or under-emphasize any aspect. Just say the words out loud. If you like, record yourself doing it, so you get a baseline for how you sound. Then go over and check out Jade Joddle on YouTube. OK, she’s British – but that shouldn’t affect your appreciation for her amazing diction and enunciation. And she’s got 75 videos on many different aspects of vocal quality that can help you improve your own speech patterns. Some are better, and more germane to this subject, than others – but there are many from which to choose. I think if all you do is make an effort to modulate and complete the ends of your words like Jade does, you’ll find your speaking skills vastly improved.

More than anything, your goal is to have people understand you when you speak. But important secondary goals might be to have them take note of you as a speaker, to remark that you are a good speaker, and/or to recommend you as a speaker to others. None of that will happen if you say writin’ instead of writing, fir instead of for, or gonna instead of going to.

If you really intend to use your book as a means of jump-starting a public speaking career or, conversely, speaking to sell more books, you might want to invest in a voice coach who can help you get the rest of the way toward your goal. Do your research and due diligence. Get references from past students, and where possible, look at before-and-after video comparisons of where the student started before hiring the coach, and where he or she is today.

Here’s to speaking your way to success!

Laura

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Summer Author Event

PHOENIX-AREA AUTHORS: If you or someone you know is an author in Phoenix, please consider participating in the Summer Author Event on August 16. This multi-author book signing and meet-and-greet will put you in front of hundreds of readers in a casual environment where you can sell and sign books. There are three levels of participation. The first 100 attendees will receive goody bags – and for just $25, you can put a promo for your book into the goody bags!  Learn more or register at SummerAuthorEvent.com.

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3 ways to benefit from events: Attend. Speak. Sponsor.

Last Wednesday, I visited a new (to me) women’s business group called eWomen Network. It’s a North American organization, with chapters in four Canada provinces (Alberta, BC, Nova Scotia, and Ontario) and 35 states in the US. Not surprisingly, California, Texas, and Florida have the most chapters.

The Phoenix chapter is under the relatively new management of Johnell McCauley – and she’s doing a fantastic job. You couldn’t precisely call the luncheon I attended a networking event, as it’s much more than just that – but you could definitely call it an experience.

The speaker, Cathy Alessandra, refers to herself as the Chief Innovative Officer for her marketing firm. She crammed a lot of excellent info into a

Cathy Alessandra

Cathy Alessandra

short, powerful presentation. Here are the biggest takeaways:

BE SEEN. This means showing up. But before you do, be sure you do your research, set great intentions, be willing to expand outside your comfort zone, and have a mechanism for following up. I’ve heard twice in two weeks: If you’re going to collect cards at a meeting and then not follow up, you might as well just stay home. Lastly, go with the intention of being of service, rather than selling. This takes the pressure off both you and the people with whom you’ll be connecting.

GET HEARD. As a speaker – even a free speaker at a weekly Rotary Club or chamber meeting – make sure you deliver a content-packed presentation with easily implementable steps. You will do your best if you exude both self-confidence and confidence in your area of expertise. Be sure to connect with your audience. If any of these seem wickedly challenging to you – start by getting yourself to a Toastmasters club, joining, and participating. Every speaker started somewhere – Toastmasters is an excellent place to get your feet wet.

CONNECT. Your end goal is to connect with others in a meaningful way. Do that AND be seen as a leader by speaking, sponsoring, or hosting your own events.

PLAN. As a speaker, you’ll need a one sheet (we’ll talk more about this in an upcoming post). You’ll also need to do your research to learn about live and virtual events seeking speakers with your expert knowledge. Set goals for how many events you will attend, speak at, and sponsor this year – and keep at them until you achieve your goals. Calendar these goals in pencil – and mark them in ink when they’re confirmed. Stand out from the crowd by picking up the phone and calling event planners, rather than relying exclusively on email. And check with prior speakers, vendors, and attendees to see what their experience was before signing up.

The main message here is that it’s easier than you might think to use events – and speaking in particular – to get noticed, sell books, and enhance your business. What are YOUR event and speaking goals this year? Please share them in the comment section below.

To being seen, getting heard, connecting, and planning!

Laura

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Take a page from the Boy Scouts: Always be PREPARED!

(Please click on image to enlarge.)

So now that we’re familiar with relationship marketing as it pertains to becoming an SBM* and have made that aspect of selling books part of our daily ritual, practice, and mantra, it’s time to start seizing the opportunities as they present themselves. I recommend taking a page out of the Boy Scouts’ playbook and always BE PREPARED.

Once you train yourself to recognize them, you will begin to notice opportunities everywhere. You will meet people in line at the grocery store or the DMV. Your spouse will come across someone who can help promote your book. You will attend a lecture and make connections who invite you to speak the next time. Whatever shape or form they take, make sure you’re ready to capitalize on these limitless opportunities!

It’s possible that right now you’re thinking, “What are you talking about, Marcie? I’ve NEVER met anyone who could help me market my book on Irish vegan wedding recipes.” Here’s the thing: the opportunities are out there, but you must learn to see them.

I had a mentor who was so good at seeing opportunities, I like to say that he was able to look at a plain white piece of paper and see 27 opportunities on it, while all I saw was a plain white piece of paper. But after spending time with him, I began to do a few things that allowed me to start seeing opportunities the same way he did:

  1. I decided exactly what I wanted.
  2. I figured out the kinds of help I would need to get there.
  3. I learned to be a better listener.
  4. I got over my fear of talking to people about my products and services.

Think about the times people have asked you for help. If the request is reasonable, people are mostly willing to help. Now there’s one big caveat here: you do NOT want to go at people with your hand out the second you meet them. This is not about learning to use or manipulate the people you know. It’s about figuring out how to create mutually beneficial arrangements with them.

Nothing will come of any of the opportunities, though, if you aren’t prepared to leverage them.

  • How are you at public speaking? If it’s less than stellar (or if you’re terrified of public speaking), join a Toastmasters Club today! 
  • Do you have an article ready to go if someone were to ask you to submit one to their publication? How’s the resource box and your call to action?
  • Is your media kit current?
  • Are your bio, resume, and introduction updated?
  • Have you rehearsed your 15-, 30-, and 60-second descriptions of your book so that they roll off your tongue?

As my friend, international sales trainer Connie Kadansky, always says: “Opportunities are never lost. They just go to the person who is ready to take advantage of them!”

See you Thursday!

MARCIE

*Savvy Book Marketer

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We’d love it if you’d take a few minutes to give us some feedback via SurveyMonkey about an upcoming Author Sales Training Webinar series we’ve got in the works. Anyone who completes the survey and provides a viable e-mail address will be eligible to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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If you’d like us to add a link to your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog, please send us a note. If we think it’s a good fit, we’ll be happy to add you. Of course, we’d appreciate the reciprocity of the same!

Additionally, Marcie would be happy to make a guest appearance on your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog. Just let us know the theme or your idea (preferably including a 6-panel concept), and we’ll see what we can draft for you.

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PREVIOUS POSTS

Thursday, June 16 Are you using the 80/20 RULE when it comes to marketing your books?

Monday, June 13 – RELATIONSHIP marketing is the only way to SELL something personal like a book

Thursday, June 9 – Savvy Book Marketing is all about the RELATIONSHIP

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