Public Speaking for Writers

Mark TwainI’ve been asked to run a workshop on public speaking at Capclave 2014. I’ve incorporated a Mark Twain theme to the workshop, since he was a great writer, a world-renowned public speaker and an early science fiction writer (thanks to his A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court). I thought I’d reveal the official description of the workshop:

Title: Public Speaking for Writers
Panelist: David Keener

Description: David Keener, an experienced public speaker, conference organizer and writer, will lead a workshop on public speaking for writers. In today’s publishing world, simply writing a story isn’t enough – you also need to get up in front of an audience and promote yourself. In this workshop, you’ll learn techniques to be a dynamic speaker. You’ll learn how to apply these techniques to be an effective panelist at conventions, whether as a moderator or as a participant. You’ll also learn to describe your fiction in succinct sound bites designed to intrigue potential readers.

You’ve seen it all done wrong – find out how to do it right.

Limited: 16 participants.
Duration: 2 hours

FYI. I’ve worked out the design of the workshop, which will be pretty cool for the participants, I think. I’ve validated the workshop design and timing with some of my Toastmasters friends, including professional speakers and educators. And I’ve begun working on the accompanying PowerPoint slides for the instructional parts of the workshop. The workshop will consist of three instructional sections, one short writing session, one collaborative session and two public speaking exercises (including a mock panel for each group).

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My Business Card Concept

As a writer, I have now been in a number of networking situations where I really could have used a business card. However, I have also been handed lots of business cards by writers, editors and other would-be industry professionals that can only be described as, well, distinctly amateur. I decided that if I was going to have business cards to support my writing, then they were going to have to be good cards.

I wanted a business card that was memorable, something that could even function as a conversation opener. Here’s an example of what I came up with:

Business Card, Zombie Edition

Yes, writing is a business, but it’s also a creative endeavor. My card says, “This guy is doing some wild and crazy stuff, but hey, this card looks really professional.” When I hand out this card, I want the recipient to believe that I’m both creative and business-like, a person that they might reasonably want to do business with.

As a secondary goal, I wanted my business cards to tie into the rest of my marketing activities. My business cards are modeled after my Facebook page, complete with an inset photograph of myself. I decided that I wanted custom cards, with sixteen different pictures on the front. As a gimmick, when offering somebody a card, I can fan out a stack of cards, and then say, “Pick a card, any card. There’re all different.”

Here’s what I came up with for the back of my cards:

Business Card Back, With Quote

One of my pet peeves involves business cards that are blank on the back, or worse, that have a link to the free service that the individual used to print their lackluster cards. A business card is an advertisement for your business, whether that’s writing or something else. If you’ve managed to get an advertisement into somebody’s hands, you should make sure they get the most of it. Give ’em something useful on the back.

For my cards, the front tells the recipient what I do, “Writer, Speaker, Futurist,” and implies that I’m both creative and business-like. The back of the card delivers my contact information, as well as a memorable and positive quote that has something to do with writing or creativity. And every card has a different quote.

It’s a well integrated one-two punch of marketing information.

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