Award Winning Fantasy with a Twist!
Whether from fear of being judged or getting up in front of an audience, everyone’s had that moment of gut-wrenching terror when faced with a presentation or speech. Here today to help us face our fear is Tony Smith, with tips to manage the panic and organize our thoughts for clear, effective communication!
What’s your background and how did that influence your work?
I’m a communication and public speaking professor at St. Petersburg College in Seminole, Florida. My teaching background, passion for education, and desire to help others inspired me to write this book and kept me motivated throughout the process. Public speaking is scary and stressful for lots of people, so I’m very proud and happy to have written something I believe can help others.
What inspired this book?
I wanted to write a book that captured the essence of how I try to teach my courses in a clear, straightforward, conversational manner. I did not want to write a long, intimidating, overpriced textbook. My book isn’t a textbook. If anything, I view it as sort of an anti-textbook for students and others who need help in organizing and delivering a speech. I wanted something short, practical, and inexpensive to help those in need.
Who was your biggest help in writing this story and why?
My good friend and colleague, Richard Musgrave, was a tremendous help in writing this book. He’s an outstanding editor with a keen eye for details, and he catches mistakes and typos like a hawk scanning for prey. He also provided valuable advice and constructive criticism, and even agreed to be on the cover of the book!
What was your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge and greatest joy were one and the same in this book, and that was the chapter on dealing with fear and anxiety in public speaking (Chapter 9). This is a crucial and somewhat touchy subject to write about, especially since it’s a very personal issue for some people. I hate public speaking anxiety and what it does to people, so I tried to approach the chapter in an honest and understanding manner. I don’t mince words or sugar-coat anything in this book, and that’s something I feel very good about.
What comes next for you as a writer?
Early retirement, of course! 🙂 Eating out and sleeping in every day! Seriously though, I promised myself I wouldn’t begin working on another book until I took the time and made the effort to promote this book as well as I could (thanks Kathy!). I recently started working as a consultant, coach, and trainer for businesses and individuals who want to improve their communication and/or public speaking skills. I’m hoping my book will serve as a means of promoting the services I provide in these areas, and vice-versa.
About Finish Your Damn Speech!
This book offers a variety of tips and practical advice for organizing and delivering an effective speech or presentation. Written in a clear, simple, straightforward style, it covers important topics including: the Intro, Body, and Conclusion of your speech; using notes and visual aids effectively; practicing your speech; dealing with public speaking fear and anxiety; and delivering the best speech possible. Whether it’s a class assignment, work presentation, special occasion speech, or keynote address…if you can spare just two or three hours to read this book, you’ll be well on your way to finishing your damn speech!
Excerpt from Chapter 9 (Dealing With Fear and Anxiety):
One day several years ago, I was walking to class in the pouring rain. Having forgotten my umbrella, I was walking as fast as I could. Others around me were doing the same: hastily seeking shelter so as not to get wet. It was then I heard it: “quack-quack-quack-quack-quack!” Turning toward the sound, I saw a group of ducks making their way through the rain as well. Unlike me and those around me, the ducks didn’t seem to care about the rain. They paid it no mind, and just let it roll off of them as they continued on to wherever it was they were going, quacking all the way. Watching those ducks in that moment, I realized something very important: That’s how you give a speech! Treat your fear and mistakes like rain as a public speaker, and let it all roll off of you like water off a duck!
Feeling nervous or afraid during your speech? You made some mistakes? Things aren’t going exactly as planned? That’s common in public speaking. Get over it! Get over yourself, get over your audience, and get over your speech! Remember: it’s not that big of a deal unless you make it one. If everyone stopped doing something the moment they felt nervous or made a mistake, no one would ever do anything, and nothing would ever get done. I’ve felt nervous and made mistakes as a professor numerous times so far – but I didn’t stop or fret about it. I moved on and finished my class! The same is true with artists, actors, athletes, musicians, and everyone else in life. Making mistakes, feeling nervous, and being afraid from time to time are all a part of being human. Don’t let it stop you from reaching your goals!
Where you can find Finish Your Damn Speech!