Tag Archives: self-improvement

Guest Post–When Writers Have To Speak


Today’s post is courtesy of Karel Henneberger, one of the Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe. You may reach her at writerKMH@gmail.com.

Writers write. Right? Right.

But sometimes writers also have to speak. In public. To a group of people. A large group of people. And not people you know.

Most people get nervous when they have to speak in front of an audience, even a small group of friends. And many find public speaking a totally paralyzing experience, mostly because we are all afraid of being publicly humiliated.

Some advisors say to picture your audience naked. Hmmm. Not a pretty picture when speaking to adults, and a worrying one when speaking to children.

But there are several things you can do to help you overcome stage fright.

First, you need to decide what you will talk about. If you are asked to speak about a particular topic–explaining, informing, or showing something, then you are well on your way. Whatever you talk about, remember that old advice–Tell them what you’re going to tell them. Tell them. Then tell them what you told them.

Also decide whether you want to use visual aids or just wing it. Use your aids to supplement, not be your program.

There are many websites that can help you write your speech (though don’t plan to stick to the exact words you write)

Well before THE DAY:

  • Practice your speech in front of a mirror
  • Read your speech out loud
  • Read s l o w l y
    • When you’re nervous, you tend to speak and move more quickly
    • It’s hard to understand when someone speaks too fast
    • Speaking  s l o w l ynot only gives your brain a chance to catch up with your tongue, it is calming–a good thing for a speaker
  • Time it several times to make sure you’re consistent.
  • Start by READING your notes, then begin to just glance at them
  • Then try to give the speech without notes (that probably won’t work, but it will show you where you need to brush up)
  • Make very basic notes to take with you on THE DAY

Besides the speech, decide:

  • What to wear–this will depend upon your audience
    • Is the occasion casual?
    • More formal?
    • Businesslike?
  • What your audience is expecting to hear
    • New information
    • Solutions to a problem
    • Entertainment
  • Know your strengths–and weaknesses
    • If you have a weak voice, use a microphone (practice with one first)
    • If you are very tall or very short, make sure the podium, microphone, etc is set at the correct height
    • Consider the speech as a role you will play–dress the part and you’ll be more likely to act the part
    • The right clothes will make you feel more confident
    • Consider a shopping trip (a thrift store outfit won’t cost much and can be kept for similar occasions

Before walking onto that empty scary stage try one of these ideas:

  • Do meditation exercises just before going onstage–this requires learning specific techniques
  • Simply close your eyes and think of a favorite place, a place where you have been happy–this also needs some before-hand practice
  • Carry a worry stone in your pocket. When you feel yourself losing control, just slip your hand in your pocket and rub the stone

When you are standing in the middle of the stage:

  • Take three deep breaths (more might cause you to hyperventilate)
  • SMILE
    • Nobody will know you are not smiling at them
    • It will make you feel more relaxed and confident
  • Pick three people in the audience–one in front and one on each side near the back
    • While you talk, move your head from one to the other
    • This makes it appear that you are looking at most of the people in the audience.
  • If that is too hard to do, look at an empty seat, a flower arrangement, a pillar, or a decoration on the wall, again moving your head from one to the other

The three most important things to remember when you must give a speech are:

  1. Know your topic
  2. KNOW your topic
  3. KNOW YOUR TOPIC

When you know your topic thoroughly, you will find you can improvise if necessary. Know your topic so well that you can continue even if:

  • You lose your place in your notes
    • Take a deep breath and fake it
    • Joke about being clumsy (the audience will most likely laugh–go with it)
  • The lights go out
    • Joke about someone not paying its electric bill (again, laughs relax everyone)
    • Ask the audience questions about their knowledge of the topic (ask them to raise their hands if they __________.Again, laughter helps)
    • Let them ask you questions (You really know your topic, so you will have answers and if you don’t, use a politician’s ploy–give a non-answer–talk about a somewhat related subject that you do know about)
    • And DON’T MOVE AROUND THE STAGE until the lights come back on
  • Your visual aids suddenly fall to the floor
    • Say something like, “Well, if you could see it, this chart would show…” (laughs again)
    • While someone picks up your stuff, go on to the next part of your speech.

Really KNOWING your topic will let you turn a potential disaster into a success. And success will give you confidence. Confidence will make it easier to give the next speech. So, don’t be afraid to be a writer who speaks.

As a Writer, What If I Am Just Average?


On WordPress, I continue to be amazed by the collection of talent. Sometimes an author’s writing floors me with its power, cleverness, raw emotion or beautiful use of language.

I am none of those things. I am a nerd who can correctly string together a series of words. As a writer–as a word artist–I am average.

How then do I expect to compete in the commercial marketplace? The same way an average employee competes in the workplace. By showing up. By giving my best effort. And like a tidal wave, by sheer volume. A dose of self-promotion is important, too. If I don’t market, I won’t sell. (Please don’t stop reading here. The best of this post is yet to come.)

I’ve said this before and I will say it again: throw enough at a wall and something will stick.

Part of succeeding as an average writer is finding my audience. I do that by writing in all the ways that appeal to me–short stories, haiku, flash fiction and novels. (In 2013, I hope to add internet content to the list.) Then I analyze. Of those things I like to write, what are people reading?

I need to look at my statistics. What do statistics tell me about what readers like in my work? Is it my true confessions? Is it self-improvement or how-to articles? Pop culture? Or factual pieces? Humorous stories? The off-the-wall?

Success is finding the match of my abilities with a need in the marketplace.

Ask the reader.

So I am asking you right now. What do you like best about this blog? Why do you stop by? Is there something which you’d like to see more often? Any answer is a helpful one. Silence hurts. So tell me something, anything, that will make this blog a better experience for you. Even if it is what you don’t like. Say, “Fay, dump this. Keep that.” Bring it on. Help me get better.

For me, that’s what it is all about. The best part is serving, helping, pleasing you, the reader.

The next best part is getting good enough to earn a paycheck! But that’s another post for another day.  🙂

A Series of Thoughts on the Power of the Mind, Part 3


“Our life is the creation of our mind.”

–Buddha

To close out this series, I am using the words of others to point out truisms–about the power of the mind–that have spanned all time. Look back to Part 1 and review the psychological laws. My hope is that you become aware of what you are attracting to yourself and that you use that awareness to improve your situation.

Through the power of your mind.

 The Law of Attraction is a universal law that says all your thoughts, positive and negative, vibrate at a certain frequency and like attracts like.  In other words, you get what you ask for – the frequency of your thoughts attract things to your life vibrating at the same frequency.  This happens whether you are conscious of it or not.

–Life-changing-mind-power.com

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear,  do not sit home and think about it. Get out and get busy.”

–Dale Carnegie

“If you change your thoughts, words, actions, and your attitudes, your mind will update its rules according to the data it has gathered.”

–Susan Gray, author of the book Turn Your Thoughts into Money

Watch your thoughts; they become words.

Watch your words; they become actions.

Watch your actions; they become habits.

Watch your habits; they become character.

Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

–Frank Outlaw, Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/805263

The laws of psychology teach, if you want to change your world, change your mind set.

How to make us worship you, and like it!


How to make us worship you, and like it!.

Rarasaur has taken a great deal of effort to help you, the blog writer, know what you need to do to  to make your readers love you through your blog. Take the time to look at yourself–and your blog–through a reader’s eyes.

Interview with Author A. J. Myers


If you enjoy author interviews, this is a good one because:

  • this is the story of an author who discovered the writer within herself by surprise
  • A. J. Myers is an every day, “real-world” woman who succeeded in publishing
  • she gives helpful advice
  • she models good author behavior — planning, discipline, fun
  • she offers resources for writers

Thank you, Paige Nolley, WordPress blogger, for this insightful interview.

Interview with Author, AJ Myers.

Quotation for 10-17-2012


The world is all gates, all opportunities.

 

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

The Five Mistakes Killing Self-Published Authors


The Five Mistakes Killing Self-Published Authors.

The link above is to Kristin Lamb’s blog. The linked article is invaluable to anyone who plans to self-publish. The key points she makes are:

  1. Self-publishing makes it too easy to publish poor material.
  2. Learn the business of writing before publishing.
  3. Marketing is a necessary evil in order to sell books.
  4. Don’t give your books away for free.
  5. The minute you publish your first book, start your next one.