Hey cHEwY gums gums

Last time, I covered literary festivals but left out the most important part of doing them…the presentation. 

So these are my own tips for presentations, not only at festivals, but also school visits and conferences etc

1. Assume nobody knows you

This is easy for me because half the time it’s true, no joke haha. Start your talk with a solid intro for those kids who really have no idea about you.

2. Read your audience

There’s a world of difference between grade 5 and grade 7 kids. If you have books that cover specific ages, then that’s cool, but sometimes you will get an audience that is aged ’10 to 12′ and you don’t know what that means until you walk into the room haha. So always play to your audience. If it’s a smaller crowd, make it more conversational. If it’s a quieter crowd, drum up some participation. I usually scan the room and see what I can use or say too.

3. Have a gimmick

Sometimes it could come from your book, it’s topics, characters, and so on. But find the fun and strange from your book and transfer that across on the stage. It can be props, music, powerpoint slides…

4. Be yourself

Kids can spot a fake from a mile away, so whatever you say, say it from the heart. No need to pretend, just be natural. Kids will follow you if you truly believe in your story and characters.

This is will also come in handy when you’ve been doing the same talk over the last few weeks, if you feel it from the heart then you won’t be as jaded (more on this on another post haha)

5. Be flexible

It may be a faulty screen, noise from outside, a change of venue…sometimes you don’t get your ideal space. And that’s okay. Of course, you gotta make sure kids can hear you, but go with the flow.

6. Sell yourself!

Honestly, this is the best chance to win the audience over so it doesn’t hurt to do your best to plug your books. At the very least, they’ll enjoy your voice and then be led to your stories. I must admit, if I know my books are being sold then I do amp it up a little more, because hey, you are basically you the star of your own 50 min infomerical 🙂


About the author

I'm an author, stand-up comedian and teacher. My books include Thai-riffic!, Con-nerd, Punchlines and The Other Christy. I'm a massive Nintendo fan and love eating burgers. Follow me on Twitter or Instagram @oliverwinfree

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