One of the best ways for you as an author to promote your book is by doing a lot of speaking. However, there’s a catch: Speaking won’t do you much good if the speeches coming out of your mouth aren’t memorable ones.
At Author Bridge, we have been to our fair share of author events, and we’ve heard all kinds of speeches. Long ones, short ones, speeches that raised the roof and speeches that put the people listening into a trance in their seats. There are a few things that the best of the best speeches have in common — and that earn their speakers more book sales than the average author at the end of the day.
Question: How many meetings have you sat through where the speaker’s “Good morning” could have been delivered by a Saltine cracker? Next question: How many of those meetings did you manage to keep your eyes open for? Your intro is your chance to grab your audience’s attention — preferably so strongly that you won’t be losing it again anytime soon. To come up with a great opener for your topic, try tapping into things such as startling statistics, compelling human-interest stories or surprising real-life examples that connect to what you’re talking about. Powerful quotes, humorous anecdotes and rhetorical questions can also be your allies when it comes to starting a speech off right. The first step to selling a book is getting people interested in what you have to say in the first place, and your opener is the ideal moment to get their attention.
Everyone has a story. That’s why it’s a great idea to include stories in your speech. Your listeners have lived through trials and triumphs of their own, which means they’re going to connect to — and remember — stories that you tell them better than they’ll remember bullet-pointed lists. A word of caution on this: Be careful not to lecture too much. Your story is only as good as its point. Keep it focused, and make sure you relate it back to the audience in the end. If your speech is relatable and interesting, everyone listening will assume that your book is, too.
PowerPoint, Graphics and Video
You could say that a great speech can hold its own without a lot of bells and whistles, and you’d be right. Nevertheless, in our experience, bells and whistles don’t usually hurt. A lot of people are visual learners, and you can bet they’ll appreciate that you brought some pictures along. Just remember not to use your high-tech toys as a crutch. The speech itself should always be the star of the show; the graphics are only there to spice it up a bit. If there are already interesting pictures, graphics or lists in your book, use those to your advantage here.
Conclusions That Leave Them Wanting More
Research shows that there are two parts of a speech that make the biggest impact on an audience: the first 30 seconds, and the last 30 seconds. What does that mean for you? It means you don’t sign off with a bland little wave and a “Thanks for having me.” Go out with a bang! You can do this with several of the same approaches you used to come in with a bang: startling statistics, powerful quotes, or the like. You can also wrap things up with a call to action — preferably one that leads listeners right to your book. The more inspired you leave your audience, the more likely they’ll want to buy what you’re selling — and to talk about you and your book to all of their friends and relatives. Use this opportunity to tip the first domino in the chain, and watch as the rest of them follow suit to boost your book sales.