I used to think it was easy to get up in front of a room and deliver a speech. In all my years of working in corporate America ... I led meetings in board rooms, talked to hundreds of medical students at trade shows, spoke to malls filled with people at health fairs, gave the rah-rah speeches at company picnics and Christmas parties, blended humor and "let's get down to business" speeches at hundreds of monthly company staff meetings. Been there ... done that.
But yesterday, I moved into an entirely upper echelon of public speaking. I've "bam" kicked it up a notch! Thing is ... I'm not in the market to be a speaker. There are speakers who are authors and then, there are authors who speak about their work. That's me. The latter. I never joined Toastmasters or other speaking groups (although I highly recommend you do, especially if you have no experience in giving a quality speech) ... but in the end - I don't want to be "a speaker." I know my first love is writing novels. And yet, I'm going to speak to America about my work.
So, do I want to be ordinary and "just an okay" speaker? No. I realize ... there's an art to speaking well and delivering a well crafted speech. A formula to interesting and memorable presentations ... a better way to reveal my heart and me.
I'm excited about this next phase. I'm going to work with a speech coach. I compare it to taking singing lessons. Even though I've spoken to groups, and have always been nothing less than professional and inspiring (in my humble opinion,) I recognize there is something more I'm looking to do. Find that special fairy dust, the element of touching emotions and bring down the house ... that's what I aspire to perfect. To touch the raw emotion in each and every person within the sound of my voice. To uplift. To be more than just a "feel good" speaker. Who wouldn't want to be memorable and change lives? I wish to deliver a charismatic presentation without preaching! Deliver the goods ... and yet, just be me.
No kidding, it's a tall order. I also realize there are men and women who have worked on their speaking careers for years - but in a very real sense without knowing it - so have I. All I'm wanting, is to connect with my audience in a very real, honest, and powerful way. Whether it be 4 people, with one of those my husband, or 4 thousand people ... it's how I want to deliver my work to the public ... by speaking about it.
So in a sense, I guess I'm going to be "a speaker." I respect people who choose this as a career path. Boy, do I. They have great presence and their attitudes must be up every time they get in front of a crowd ... even if they got a speeding ticket on the way to the meeting. They know how to balance acting and being real.
In today's world of publishing, an author must have a platform and an edge. My edge ... is me. When someone sees me, hears me, they'll get a real sense of my stories. I'm thankful for my new speaking coach. He's coached the careers of Tony Award winners and a Golden Globe winning actor. Sure, I could do it without him ... I could travel around and speak and do a good job. People would be happy and go away with a great book. But I want more than that. I want to give people more than that, so when they hear me they never forget me. And a year or two from now, when they see my novel on the shelves at their favorite bookstore, they say, "Hey, it's her new book! I got to have it!"
All because I connected with them on some level months before.
It's a process, and a great speech is a part of it.
Blessings to you and yours.