Tag: Speakers

Do You Lose Your Voice When You Write?

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I am not suggesting that you suffer from a strange side effect of writer’s block.  I am referring to our tendency to lose our brand identity when we write books, speeches, promotional collateral, opt-in products, website copy, etc.  Have you ever read some of your own content months or years later and thought it does not even sound like you?  Have you watched one of your keynote presentations and wondered why it did not feel authentic? Have you reviewed your website copy lately and thought, “Is this really me?”

Just for fun, let’s call this phenomenon Writer’s Laryngitis (WL).  We will define it as a condition resulting from authors or speakers deviating from their brand, their rhythm, and their personality because they are trying too hard to accommodate their perceptions of their audience.

Are you addressing industry mavens and CEOs and instead of being your clever and engaging self, you end up delivering a stoic and lifeless presentation?  What if the demographics of your readers are predominantly male or female, do you get too in touch with your masculine or feminine side in an attempt to establish rapport when in fact your disingenuous tone turns people off?

These may seem like dramatic examples, but on a much smaller scale this happens more often than you realize.

Mild to Severe WL-like symptoms:

  • You find yourself stuck trying to write about content you coach everyday, or you try to mimic expressions and concepts that do not come easily to you.
  • You stumble for just the right words to explain your own services and products.
  • When you receive your own Opt-In product emails each day, are you unable to see your reflection in them?
  • Your personality resembles slacks and a nice sweater but your correspondence wears a three-piece suit
  • When listening to your own recorded tele-seminar script you sound more rehearsed than the conversational tone of your in-person consultations
  • A new client or colleague tells you that based on your previous correspondence and content, you “seem different” in person

In-Home Remedies:

  • The next time you talk with a potential new client on the phone, record yourself on a digital recorder.  Are you explaining your services the same way in print?  Chances are your audio explanation was more engaging and persuasive.
  • Put your promotional collateral and sales letters side-by-side with your web copy and see if they are consistent in tone and messaging
  • Read your manuscript chapters aloud to yourself. If the words do not flow easily for you, then simplify and replace it with your everyday diction

Professional Treatment:

You may have a more severe condition of WL (or lack the time to cure yourself) and I recommend you seek the advice of a second set of eyes.  Chances are you are too close to your own condition and self medicating may not be the answer.  Work with a collaborative writer or editor to help you with the consistency and tone of your messages.  After only a couple of consultations and reviewing your existing content, a writer specializing in voice duplication can create impressions of you on paper.

Here’s to getting better soon!

Why Speakers Fear Writing Books

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It would seem like a natural progression for a speaker to become an author but all too often the transition does not take place, or if it does it is years in the making.

Dear Speakers:
Let’s first review your talent as a successful speaker…

  • You obviously have quality content, or why else would you take the risk of standing up in front of 100’s or even 1,000’s of people and talking?
  • You have studied the interests and needs of your target market in order to fill a need, solve a problem and establish rapport.
  • You have done your research to present tangible and credible facts.
  • You have spent countless hours on PowerPoint or Keynote slides to visually represent your gems of wisdom.
  • You have crafted funny, inspiring and compelling stories to get your point across.

If you have agreed with the above statements, you already have a solid book inside of you so what is stopping you?

Fear #1:  I am overwhelmed by the sheer mass of it all.  I have all of these notes, copies of my speeches, blogs, newsletters, ezines, and audio files of my content but I don’t even know where to start.  Whenever I think about trying to organize it I give up.

Most people feel the same way about their taxes.  Our financial lives are all on paper in different files, in different drawers, closets and boxes and we don’t even want to start trying to organize them.  But isn’t it great when your tax person gives you an assessment tool that reminds you of different areas for deductions you forgot about and you can simply fill in the blanks?  Those receipts are the gems of your financial life.

All of your existing content, regardless of the medium, are your writing gems.  A quality collaborator or editor will be able to provide you with tools and ideas to help “chunk” out these nuggets for you or even simply take your “receipts” and create a quality product for you.  A new, second set of eyes is often the best method for getting things organized.  You are not alone – what a relief!

Fear #2:  I am articulate when I am speaking to my audience, but when I try to put thoughts down on paper, I freeze up.

You have a talent for the art of speaking and engaging a room full of people while making each audience member feel like you are talking directly to him/her.  I admire your ability to make it look so effortless.  Honor your own talent and don’t feel badly because it is not a seamless process for you to put it down on paper.  Remember that not all writers make great speakers either!  Take action and ask for help.  Collaboration can be an incredibly energizing creative process.

Fear #3:  If I am considered an expert or thought leader in my field, I feel like my manuscript has to be perfect and so I don’t even want to begin.

We tend to be procrastinators with certain projects out of a fear that it, or we, will not be good enough.  How many times as a child did you say you didn’t feel like playing a game or a sport because you didn’t know how and did not want to fail?  We are afraid to start something that could possibly verify our sense of inadequacy.  Perfectionism can be a paralyzing force in many areas of our lives.

The great thing about writing is it does not have to be a solo event.  Just like any other professional project, your results are much better when you surround yourself with talented people who can help.  A good editor knows how to ask the right questions and weave your message.  She should also know how to “rookie-proof” your content so that it speaks to your target market regardless of their education level or demographics.  (This concept of rookie-proofing will be addressed in more detail in a later blog, so stay tuned.)

Fear #4:  I just presented most of my content to my audience, why would they spend money on the book?

Why do you buy other speaker’s books?  Why do we go see John Gray, Wayne Dyer or Suze Orman and still buy their books?  Because we want more time to absorb the content.  We want to work through the exercises in the book, or reread sections that were a-ha moments for us.  We want to learn more on our own time, at our own pace, with the opportunity to find new nuggets each time.  Your content has value and depth.  Allow your audience the opportunity to go deeper.

Dear New Author:
Your book has arrived.  It is on stage with you.  It is in the hands of your audience members and you can see it on the tables in the back of the room.  Congratulations!  Next…