Why Writers Must Be Speakers
By Lori Hatcher
Glossophobia or speech anxiety is the fear of public speaking. Most women are more scared of public speaking than they are of dying. Many within the writing community agree, saying, “I’m a writer, not a speaker.”
If you feel this way, I have good news and bad news. First the bad news: It’s almost impossible to become a successful writer without also becoming a successful speaker. Now the good news: You can become a successful speaker.
Here are 10 reasons why writers must also be speakers:
1. The agent interview.
Before you can sell your work to a publisher, you must sell it to an agent. And you’re not just selling your book, you’re selling yourself—your personality, passion, and ability to promote your work. You must convince your agent before he’ll ever speak to a publisher on your behalf.
2. The infamous elevator pitch.
An elevator pitch is a 60-90 second description of your book. You should be able to give this confidently and articulately to an editor, agent, or potential reader in an elevator, social setting, or at dinner.
3. Writing will open up other opportunities to share your message.
When readers connect with you through your writing, you begin a relationship of sorts. A natural outcome is that they want to interact with you in person. Many of my speaking invitations come because of something I’ve written. If we limit ourselves to the written word, we limit our ability to influence.
4. After you speak, your audience will be more interested in your written message.
Quoting from your book during your presentation almost always increases book sales. When I speak, I direct people to my book and blog. When I write, I direct people to my speaking ministry presentations. Both are ways to expand my ministry and influence.
5. Because Christians should always be ready to share their faith.
This is a needy world, and we have the answers to life’s questions.
First Peter 3:15 reminds us, “Be ready always to give a reason for the hope that lies within you with gentleness and respect.”
6. Radio and TV interviews.
After establishing yourself as an expert in your field, media outlets will invite you to speak. Knowing how to think on your feet, communicate succinctly and powerfully, and conduct yourself on camera ensures that you present yourself and your message well.
7. Vlogs and book promos on your blog.
One of the latest additions to the blogging world is the video blog (Vlog). It’s a short video, usually filmed using a computer program such as Windows Live Media Player. Vlogs can further connect you with your audience.
Most of my blog posts are written, but occasionally I film a message when I feel especially passionate about something. Sharing my thoughts orally allows me to connect with some who prefer audio or visual communication. “I love your Vlogs,” one subscriber wrote. “I prefer to watch and listen rather than read.” You can also add a video to promote your books.
8. Speaking can be a source of income to help support your writing.
After you’ve written a book, you will become an expert in other people’s eyes, leading them to invite you to speak at their meetings, church and civic events, and book clubs. This will help promote your book and may support your writing with a speaker’s fee.
9. Confidence and poise.
Speaker training gives you the skills and confidence to interact with large groups, small groups, and individuals, increasing the effectiveness of your ministry.
10. Because speaking makes you a better writer, and writing makes you a better speaker.
The same skills that go into crafting an orderly, easy to follow, entertaining, or informational speech are the skills and techniques that make for an orderly, easy-to-follow, entertaining, or informational article, devotion, or book. Many of my best speaking presentations have their roots in a blog post or article, and vice versa.
After reading my 10 reasons, I hope you’re convinced why it’s not enough to be just a writer. To be a successful writer, you must also be a successful speaker.
Lori Hatcher is a Christian Communicators Graduate, Toastmasters International member, and the editor of Reach Out, Columbia magazine. She speaks nationally and internationally on topics that resonate with women, seeking to empower and equip them to live in the fullness of their relationship with Christ. She’s the author of two devotional books, Joy in the Journey, for homeschooling moms, and Hungry for God … Starving for Time, for busy women. You’ll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Hungry for God . . . Starving for Time.