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If You Write You (Probably) Should Become A Public Speaker

public speaking for freelance writersFear of speaking in public is reputed to be one of the top things people everywhere are afraid of. It’s right up there with snakes, spiders and dogs growling the bared teeth. In fact, according to the article, Fear of Public Speaking Statistics, many think they’d rather die than speak in front of a crowd.

Yet speaking can be a great way for freelance writers to market themselves and get new business. Not only that, speaking can improve your writing skills.

The best and easiest way to become a good speaker is to join Toastmasters. This international group has probably trained more public speakers than any other organization in the world. There are groups in most communities and I promise that if you attend with reasonable regularity and do most of what they suggest you’ll end up being a decent speaker. To give you a taste, check out their 10 Tips for Public Speaking.

Perhaps the best way to get started using speaking to help your writing business is to begin talking to small, community groups in your area. Your goal, of course, is to speak to groups that have members who will hire you. Those can be difficult to identify, particularly if you’re in a smaller town. But it would be good practice to speak even to the garden club (I’m guessing that you’re not writing about gardening) because you never know who is there or who will pass along your information.

The next step might be just working the local yellow pages under clubs and/or associations to find groups that you might want to speak with. Of course, a local Chamber of Commerce might be helpful too.

When you go be sure you take plenty of business cards. Everyone should walk out of the meeting with at least one of yours. If you’ve got a brochure, take some along. Or even better, start a signup sheet so you can capture names, phone numbers and email addresses. Be willing to schmooze afterwards.


Now, I said learning to speak would also improver your writing. When you’re speaking to a group you’re getting instant feedback in a way that’s impossible with a written piece. As you learn to organize for that type of presentation you’ll find you’re bringing some of those skills into your writing; your writing will improve.

Learning to speak in public is a good deal for any freelance writer, and worth the nerves.

Tell us about your public speaking experience.

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{ 5 comments… add one }
  • I’m good at speaking, but it’s finding the venues and content to promote my work. I recently contacted our local nonprofit resource center and offered to do a 1 hour presentation for nonprofits, on how to build a marketing platform with a blog.
    I will use the gig to put on my resume and hopefully reach potential clients there. After that I might go to our local community college or continuing ed and see if I might offer a class there!
    I do like your suggestions and will check out your tips!
    Walker recently posted..Ever Wonder Where Spam Comes FromMy Profile

  • Every time I see one of these articles I think, “That is such a great idea, but I have nothing to talk about!” I’m not an expert on anything and have published nothing so far. Who would hire me to give a talk?

    I did this free telephone seminar thing where I listened to a guy blab on and on about marketing and he did make some good points about defining your expertise, but I really am not sure how to do that.

    Okay, I’m done whining now. 🙂
    Elizabeth West recently posted..Why Read ItMy Profile

  • Hi, Anne. Thanks for some good ideas. I have been trying to figure out how to get some gigs for Public Speaking. I did it a lot in my Corporate World days, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I think I am a bit of a ham – okay, maybe a lot. I enjoy the interaction, and also have a bit of the frustrated teacher in me.
    It’s on my business plan for 2011, and like I said, I have been searching for a way to make it happen. Thanks, Anne.
    Cathy Miller recently posted..No Dental Insurance – When Dental Problems Bite BackMy Profile

    • Toastmasters… the contacts there will be invaluable.

  • Have another suggestion — start by being a radio guest! That was the first public speaking I did, and I loved it. Ended up doing a lot of radio. With podcasting, that can be a fun medium.

    Radio can be a great place to start because you don’t have to see people looking at you…I think it puts some folks at ease as a result.

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