As you know, we think speaking is a nifty way to get your book’s content to the masses. It’s awesome for expanding your reach, building your platform, and it offers a painless opportunity to shamelessly promote your book. You really shouldn’t ignore these opportunities. In fact, you should seek them.
Here are five ideas for crafting a presentation that engages your audience and promotes your content. Keep in mind that if you don’t like speaking to large groups, organize small, intimate groups. If you’re nervous about your ability to keep your audience’s attention, we recommend World Class Speaking, a book that really gives fantastic tips on structuring presentations.
So here goes:
1. Include a Story
Stories are the single best tool for engaging your audience immediately. Don’t start with the typical “thanks for having me.” Chances are someone will introduce you or you’ve already said your hello’s. Dive right in with a story that hooks your audience–maybe it’s with a passage from your book. You can also open with a personal story: how you came to write your book, the single moment you knew you had to publish it, or a story of a difficult moment in the writing process.
2. Lessons You Learned Writing Your Book
Everyone loves lessons someone else learned. Include in your presentation, the lessons you learned (or on the other side, mistakes you made) because it instantly provides value. If you don’t include this, include some other component that ensures your audience leaves with something they can use.
3. Use images
We usually don’t recommend using PowerPoint. It produces lazy presenters who rely on it too much and it usually bores your audience to tears. You’re a writer/storyteller — that automatically gives you a leg up. BUT, if you want to use a PowerPoint for good, include photos that take your audience on a journey. Photos of your earliest moments in the writing process or humorous or thoughtful images that capture your message are creative ways to keep your audience’s focus.
4. Include video
A video that inspires you, proves your point, or just adds humor to your presentation, is also a keen way to break things up. A good video will prompt emotional engagement and also helps set or punctuate the tone you want to set. When we do our workshops, we’ll sometimes open with video of a news story or a video of famous writers sharing their advice to writers. Both videos establish what our message is going to be and it adds a touch of pizazz.
A last tip: don’t forget to bring business cards, an email sign-up sheet for updates on next events, and your book. E-book authors should bring a sell sheet or other collateral material that provides a summary of your book and pertinent buying information. Bringing your e-reader so your book can be viewed.
So what do you think? Do you remember the last amazing presentation you went to? What made it good?