Many people speak professionally nowadays. I’m of course referring to motivational speakers who make their living presenting at conventions and conferences, but I’m also referring to people whose regular occupations put them in positions where they have to speak in front of an audience: pastors, professors, politicians, and even comedians fall into this category. And that’s not all! There are plenty of people in so-called “regular” professions who find themselves being invited to speak at industry events because they are experts in their fields: doctors, business owners, tech innovators, authors, artists—just about anyone.
Whichever category you fall into, if your profession requires that you speak in front of people, you should have a book. And no, this isn’t about making quick cash off of selling books to your audience, although increased book sales are usually a natural effect of speaking events. This is about how having a book will help you connect better with your audience and how the very act of writing a book will make you a better speaker.
As a bonus, if you’re looking to become a sought-after speaker, having the book first can put you in a better position to receive those invitations.
So if you’re already out there speaking professionally (or if you aspire to do so), and you haven’t written a book yet, now is the time! If you put the time and effort in to do it right, there is no downside. There are only benefits, and some of them may surprise you.
People Connect with Books
As a speaker of any kind, connecting with your audience is paramount. You could be the most gifted orator in history, but if you’re not making a connection with the people you’re speaking to, you have a huge problem. And you might be thinking, “but if I’m making a connection during my talk, will a book really make any difference?”
It all comes back to why you are speaking in the first place. You’re there to deliver a message, and whether the goal of that message is to motivate, educate, or entertain, communication doesn’t simply end the moment your speech does. Audience members will have questions. They’ll talk amongst themselves about what they’ve just heard. And, if you’re available, they’ll come talk to you afterwards, too.
Remember, the time you’re on stage (or at the podium or at the front of the classroom) is only the beginning. That part has to go well in order to get everyone’s attention, but if you are trying to build relationships, you need something more. You need to be able to connect individually with people and allow them to spend time with you long after the event is over. Obviously you cannot do that in person beyond meeting people at the event, so a book is the perfect vehicle for giving your audience the chance to dive deeper into your story and your message.
And I cannot stress enough: this is not about selling from the stage or persuading people to buy your book. This is about conversation. When you have authentic interactions and when people have the chance to experience your genuine passion for your message (which is what happens when people read books), you gain fans for life. These are people that will do so much more for you than simply spend $7-10 on a book. They will support you in whatever you do, and they will spread the word about you and your message. It’s powerful and long-lasting!
Books Help You Connect to Your Own Message
The process of writing a book is intense. No matter what the topic is, writing a book forces you to learn more about it than you ever thought you’d have to. Not only that, but in order to communicate effectively, you have to refine your thoughts and present them in a way that flows and makes sense to readers. Even if you get writing assistance from a professional (which we at Maven highly recommend!), you still need that professional to understand what you’re trying to say.
All of this is not to freak you out about the amount of effort that goes into a book—rather it’s to encourage you and let you know that the work is worth it! All of that legwork that you’ll put into research and outlining and writing and rewriting will pay off immensely the next time you have to prepare for a speaking engagement. You will know your material so much better than ever before, and you will have thoroughly considered the best way to deliver your message to an audience.
Preparing for a speaking event is stressful for most people, even for people who do it all the time. Imagine having a lot of that stress removed because you already did the heavy lifting while writing your book. Of course, for any speaking event, you’ll still have prep work to do because writing and speaking are different and because different events will require certain individual touches, but still—what a load off!
For more, and for the third reason you need a book if you’re a public speaker, head over to Maven’s blog!