“If I went back to college again, I’d concentrate on two areas: learning to write and to speak before an audience. Nothing in life is more important than the ability to communicate effectively.”– Gerald R. Ford
As a writer, there may come a point when you’re going to have to speak or at least read in front of an audience. If you’ve read my post about public speaking then you know that it takes some getting used to.
What you may not know is that there are huge advantages to being a writer if you want to become a public speaker or if you find yourself invited to a speaking engagement.
Personally, I enjoy getting in front of an audience. I didn’t always feel that way, but there are big benefits to public speaking including building your writer’s platform. Over time I’ve found that there are some great benefits to being in front of an audience instead of behind paper.
Advantages of being a writer when speaking publicly
For one, as a writer you already have a strong ability to communicate with large groups. Think about your favorite public speakers. Rarely is it what they say that has you captivated as much as it is how they say it. A good communicator is able to take a subject and turn it into something that an audience can identify with. When you think about how you’re relaying information in written format, it makes it easy to understand how you can mold that same information into a thought-provoking speech.
Secondly, writers are great storytellers and audiences love a good story. The origin of storytelling is through the passing down of oral stories from one generation to the next. Even if you’re an introvert, if you can create a good story on paper you can share that same story in front of others (with a lot of mirror practice of course).
As a writer, you’ve also practiced the art of being able to show your readers what you want them to visualize. (You know what I’m talking about: “show, don’t tell”.) This is a great skill that can be transferred to public speaking.
And you’ve already got the hardest part down, the writing. A good public speaker knows the importance of writing down all their thoughts and then practicing numerous times before they have to speak. However, for many of them, writing down their thoughts and ideas is the hardest part. Of all the areas, of public speaking, this should come more naturally to you.
Keep in mind that there are also huge benefits to public speaking that will make you a better writer.
Advantages of being public speaking for writers
As a writer, the words that come to us flow from our minds straight to the page (assuming we have an idea we’re working on). But when you are preparing to speak in front of an audience, you have to read your writing out loud. This may feel uncomfortable and unusual to many writers as we don’t normally take this approach when we are editing our work.
Speaking publicly also gives you the opportunity to prove yourself as an authority. This is especially important for non-fiction writers who focus on a specific topic or idea in their books. Being able to bullet point and explain your ideas face-to-face allows your listeners to see your facial expressions and hear the inflection in your voice when you come across your most important points. If only we could get books to do the same thing.
And for those of you who consider yourselves introverts, speaking publicly is a great way to do something that scares you. I do suggest you try it once, even if it is only to a small group of friends, so that you can experience it for yourself. You might be surprised at the results.
The perfect match
Who would have thought that public speaking and writing go so well together? If you’ve considered becoming a public speaker but don’t know where to start, consider reaching out to your local Toastmasters or by watching speakers that inspire you.
And, just so you know, one of the most common tips for being a public speaker is to become a better writer. Consider yourself ahead of the game!
“The Shoebox Effect is more than a memoir…it’s a movement.”– Marcie Keithley
What’s in YOUR shoebox?