Sunday Snippet: Dorothy Sarnoff on Public Speaking

“Make sure you have finished speaking before your audience has finished listening.”

It has been said that many people name public speaking as their greatest fear, even more so that they name the fear of death. This means that you’d rather be the one in the casket at your funeral than the one giving the eulogy. I won’t go so far as to say that this is understandable and justified, but I will say that the fear of public speaking is incredibly common and normal.

John Chow and I were the featured speakers at Freelance Camp yesterday, offering a lunchtime talk about how freelancers can make additional income by blogging. This seemed like a great opportunity to promote our respective brands, as well as a way to promote our book. The networking and learning opportunities at Freelance Camp Vancouver were numerable as well.

I will admit that I don’t have much experience in public speaking and I was naturally nervous standing in front of 150+ people during the lunchtime session at Freelance Camp. At the same time, I understood the value of stepping outside my comfort zone and taking the calculated risk of speaking at the “unconference.”

On the one hand, I was nervous about having enough to say to fill in our time slot, but on the other hand, I didn’t want to ramble on about nothing in particular. That’s precisely where today’s quote from Dorothy Sarnoff comes into play. Whenever you step in front of an audience, you want to provide them with value and interest. The last thing you want is a long, drawn-out speech that no one cares about anyway.

In case you’re not as familiar, Dorothy Sarnoff was a famed American opera singer who went on to be a rather popular self-help guru. She was an “image consultant” to such notable names as Jimmy Carter, Danielle Steel, and Paloma Picasso.

Despite my initial apprehensions regarding the speaking engagement, I’m glad I took the opportunity. Even if it doesn’t translate into any immediate monetary gains, saying that I am a published author and a featured speaker should be good for my freelance writing career.