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March is #WomensHistoryMonth … ALL of March (not just the first few days)

When the calendar goes from February to March, Women’s History Month gets a lot of attention. But as March progresses, the attention drops off.

A presentation tip for speakers wanting to honor Women’s History Month:

Include visuals – not just in your presentation, but also in the announcements for your presentation and in the follow up social media.

Libraries offer terrific visual collections – diverse and inclusive. Tap into these images. Give your audience fresh images to convey the wide range of women’s achievements.

Consider the Library of Congress. Download photos, posters & more from their Free to Use and Reuse site:… #WomensHistoryMonth

Reading a lot over the holidays? Do some meaningful networking

If you’re reading a terrific article or book, why not follow that writer on Twitter, or connect with that author via LinkedIn?

It’s a great way to let writers know you appreciate their work. And it’s a great way to build your own writing network.

Remember: Creative networking on social media isn’t about getting loads of followers or scoring high numbers of connections. Creative networking thrives when you build meaningful bonds.

Think “meeting talented writers” … not “getting my numbers up”.

I’ve met terrific writers this way. Try it.

What’s the point? Why give a presentation unless you make sure you’ve got an audience?


Four panelists presented for 30 minutes then opened the session to Q&A. These were good presenters from respected organizations.

They had prepared their remarks well and deserved a good crowd. Unfortunately, the session began with only 10 attendees in the room. Latecomers “swelled” the audience to 18. And guess what? Most of the attendees had work connections with the panelists.

In other words, the panelists put in a lot of time and effort, only to have their  key messages reach almost nobody. What’s the point?

FYI: I checked their Twitter accounts. Not one of the panelists had written any tweets to promote this program.

Equally interesting: Not one of the panelists tweeted after the program to help their messages reach a bigger audience.

Why go to all the trouble to give a presentation unless you can get your message across to a good audience (either live onsite, or later online)?

Media training: More words to avoid (Let’s shut the door on “open the kimono”)

I’m not sure why some executives say “Open the kimono” during a media interview.

I really have no idea why they use these words. But I wish they would permanently drop the phrase from all future interviews, Q&A sessions, and presentations.

In fact, it would be nice if they never uttered this phrase again. It’s so overused and so unsettling.

Think – just please think for one minute – about what they’re saying. “Open the kimono”? Of all the words in the English language, they’re choosing these three words to express their thoughts?

Enough said.

Get writing tips on Twitter @JoanDetz

Looking for quick writing tips?

I tweet often about:
#reference sources
#HTWGAS #HowToWriteAndGiveASpeech
#multicultural audiences
#international speechwriting
#PPT #PowerPoint

… so you can learn a lot on Twitter @JoanDetz

Foreign Book Covers

Coming soon … the Chinese edition

Media interviews … Could you be doing a better job?

I’ve been coaching executives for media interviews. Much of this work is done over the phone. Many of the executives speak English as a second language. Some of the execs carry bad memories of bad media experiences. All wonder, “How can I keep calm when I’m asked a rude or rambling question?”

You can keep calm by giving yourself two fundamental rights: 1) The right to get your message across accurately; 2) The right to remain comfortable.

No one else can confer these rights. Only you can give yourself the basic rights to succeed in a tough interview or Q&A.

Attitude is everything.

Start now. List all the questions you might get.

Vary your questions. Don’t make it easy. Write down hard questions. Make them tricky, make them difficult. The better you prepare for worst-case questions now, the more confidence you’ll project in a media interview or a post-presentation Q&A session. Ask a colleague to help you with a few trial runs. Record your answers. Keep tightening them. Make each word count.

Above all, don’t come across as defensive.

Pay attention to your vocal tone when you answer. Does your voice convey confidence and clout? If your tone sounds defensive or annoyed, you’ll undercut your words. Seek speaker coaching if your voice is not up to par. One or two professional coaching sessions might be all you need to sound more confident when you speak.

Pay attention to your body language. Don’t glare. Don’t cross your arms. Don’t tap the desk. Don’t fiddle with a pen. Don’t shift weight from foot to foot.

Keep in mind: Interviewers and audiences have the right to ask questions! It’s your responsibility to rise to the occasion with strong answers.

Can You Say A Few Words? by Joan Detz


Seven tips to improve your public speaking skills

How to Write Give a Speech smallforhomepage

How good are your public speaking skills?

Many writers are more comfortable at their keyboards than at lecterns. Many executives are more comfortable speaking one-on-one than speaking on a panel. Many authors are more comfortable writing a book than doing the book talks.

Yet good public speaking skills are essential to any career.

  • It’s the terrific conference speaker who gets the best social media coverage.
  • It’s the confident entrepreneur whose presentation brings in more business.
  • It’s the savvy lecturer who gets the job promotion.
  • It’s the articulate PR person who scores a raise.
  • It’s the author with top platform skills who gets a bigger advance on her next book.

Seven tips:

  1. Look for opportunities to speak. The more you do it, the better you’ll get.
  2. Not comfortable speaking in public? Turn to Toastmasters for practical advice.
  3. Write down your public speaking goals. Do you want to improve eye contact … create social media buzz … use stronger body language? Tackle one goal each time you present.
  4. Read about public speaking. You can borrow a copy of HOW TO WRITE & GIVE A SPEECH from any public library. (Make sure it’s the updated 2014 edition so you get the new information on international speeches, social media, etc.)
  5. Ask a colleague to give you one specific suggestion.
  6. Watch speeches.  Take notes. See what works and what doesn’t work – then have fun figuring out why.
  7. Get public speaking tips on Twitter. I tweet regularly about #publicspeaking #speechwriting #HowToWriteAndGiveASpeech #HTWGAS  #Toastmasters #presentationskills #media #coaching #socialmedia and (yes) the ubiquitous #PPT

Learn about “Amazon Selling Secrets” in ASJA’s September “Shop Talk”

Amazon Selling Secrets

Wednesday, September 21, 1 pm Eastern


How can you knock it out of the park on Amazon when there’s so much more competition today? By learning the top Amazon selling secrets from an industry pro! Book sales veteran Amy Collins of New Shelves Books will explain how to create an Amazon page that attracts more shoppers,  market on Amazon and push shoppers to your book on that site, get your book found there, and turn a “look” into a “buy.”


That’s what we’ll talk about in this month’s “Shop Talk” event.


Join us in this free event for ASJA members. 


Register now


About our guest expert:


Amy Collins, former book store buyer, director of sales at Adams Media, and special sales director for F+W Media, has been profitably selling to stores and libraries since 1996. For more than 10 years, she has run the successful book sales and marketing company, New Shelves Books, selling to Barnes & Noble, Target, Costco, Borders, Books-A-Million, Wal-Mart, and others. In the past 20 years, Amy has sold more than 3 million books into the bookstore, library, and chain store markets for small and mid-sized publishers.