Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Take Five and Meet Matt Kramer & His NEW Nonfiction Book: The Perfectionist’s Guide To Public Speaking: How To Crush Fear, Ignite Confidence And Silence Your Inner Critic

Today I bring you Matt Kramer, whom I met while working with the coolest software on the planet, Video CoPilot (which I'll be talking about in another post.)  When Matt told me he'd just released his non-fiction book, we all had to know about this one. 
Welcome,  Matt.

Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Matt. Tell us, what inspired you to write your book The Perfectionist’s Guide To Public Speaking: How To Crush Fear, Ignite Confidence And Silence Your Inner Critic

Hey, LA!  Thanks for inviting me to your blog. I wrote the book because I came up against the single greatest obstacle in my life—being vulnerable in front of people. Public speaking. I hate making mistakes. I had always been a perfectionist, so making mistakes was unacceptable. How did I cope, then? Easy, I avoided situations where I’d be susceptible to making them. I played it safe and stayed within my comfort zone as much as I could. Basically, I only did things I knew I could do, rather than taking on new challenges to grow.

I cared what others thought, too. Sure, I never admitted that to anyone, but inside I knew it to be true. I think most of us do. It’s normal.

I wanted to change, though. “Why not public speaking?” I thought. And so I gave it a try. What I found out was extreme pain! I struggled for over 7 months with my nerves...and especially my internal critic. Shouldn’t it get easier with experience? I thought that’s all it would take to overcome the fear of public speaking. Not for me. I was getting experience left and right and the weirdest thing was happening. The nervousness and anxiety were actually getting worse!

The reason? My internal critic. He kept beating me up after every speaking opportunity. If I mispronounced a word, there he was to let me know. Forget to say something? He’d surely pay me a visit. Nothing was ever good enough. What this was doing was reinforcing to myself that I sucked. And without having made any progress, I began to feel hopeless.

I remember this one day when suddenly my mind had given up. I had a speaking class to go to and my lazy brain was really pushing me to stay home instead of going and drowning in nervousness yet again. Strangely, it had convinced me subconsciously. I fully intended to “skip” it. When my conscious mind caught wind of this, it told me what I already knew. That I was never going to go back if I skipped out on this one. So I went.

When I finally broke through and gained control over this tremendous fear, I knew I had to get it down on paper to help people who were going through this very same pain. And here we are.

What people helped you the most in getting this book published?

There are quite a few.

My dad who also volunteered to be my editor (he writes and edits for bass fishing publications).

My friends Remi and Suzanne. We formed a book club and during the process and we would set weekly goals and hold ourselves accountable. We gave each other plenty of encouragement, too.

I encountered supportive friends along the way, many of them from unexpected places. As in, I didn’t meet them until during the book writing journey. Others that played a role were the friends I met from my Toastmasters club--the place where I met “public speaking.”

Are you planning on writing other stories, books?  If so what kind?  

I think so. I don’t know when, but I continue to write on my blog weekly. Gotta stay warmed up, right?

I’m really passionate about helping people overcome the fear of public speaking. So that’s likely what I’d write about. Non-fiction is my preference although I admire fiction writers and their ability to create entire worlds out of thin air (and surely laced with a little personal experience).  

Where would you have someone start looking for help with the crisis you've faced?
My book! :)

And if not my book, within yourself. Figure out what real reasons are behind your fears. It’s ultimately about rearranging your mental focus. Oh yeah, you’ll need to get out and get that wretched experience as well. Sorry. There’s no getting around it.

Would you share some Words of inspiration that you've used to help you through each day?

Oh heck yeah, I would love to.

Here goes: One step at a time. And make sure you take the steps.

Take a book for example. It’s not a BOOK that you’re writing. It’s a load of small passages that happen to get along with one another. They came at different times. Some of your book parties were off the hook! Some had poor attendance. What I mean by that is, some days you wrote a lot. The ideas were flowing. Others maybe you wrote 100 words. I consider these equals in the grand scheme.  

What glues everything together is that other thing I mentioned “And make sure you take the steps…”
You must form habits in life. Good habits take you in the direction you want to go. The habit of action or the habit of writing. Even the habit of taking time off for yourself to recharge.

Finally, allow yourself to make mistakes. No matter what, look to encourage yourself in any experience (especially the bad ones).
Give us a brief summary of The Perfectionist’s Guide To Public Speaking: How To Crush Fear, Ignite Confidence And Silence Your Inner Critic

The goal of the book is to help people overcome the fear of public speaking. Also, since it is a “guide,” I go over the fundamentals of public speaking, how to construct a message or speech, and practice methods for improving your skills.

On top of that, here are the points I also want the reader to take home:

  • To learn at your own pace. One step at a time!
  • To be yourself
  • To not beat yourself up and allow yourself room for mistakes
  • To not worry about what others think about you
 That’s it…    

Buy Links:

Matt Kramer once despised fear. The intense fear of public speaking nearly crippled his hope, but overcoming it has changed his life. Matt’s passion is simple: To help others overcome their fear of public speaking so they can use the confidence to pursue their dreams. You can check out his blog here.

Social Media Links: 
Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn


  1. Hi Matt,
    Welcome to An Indie Adventure. Glad you're with us today.
    Hugs, LA

  2. Thanks Leslie! Glad to be here :)

  3. You are probably offline at this point, Matt, but I just wanted to say that your book is out at a perfect time--when authors are being challenged to market and sell their own books. This includes discovering their niche markets and then visiting them to not only do book-signings but also speaking engagements focused on their research.

    I write historical fiction, and I develop speeches that correlate to the theme of my book, which for my first novel was Women Soldiers in the American Civil War. The Civil War is a vast subject, and I don't know everything there is to know about it. Thus, to eradicate my fear in speaking before my niche market, which includes historians and history buffs(who could know a whole lot more about the period than I do), I qualify the following right up front:

    "I consider myself an amateur historian who just happened to learn a lot about the Civil War along the way in my research of women soldiers for the writing of my novel. I don't know everything there is to know about the Civil War. If there's a question I cannot answer, I invite anyone from the audience to chime in and answer it or I can research the question and have the organization post the answer where it's visible for all to see."

    In a subtle way, this allows me to be forgiven for committing any errors, and it also gives me license to make educated guesses without being held to it.

    Is this something you do as well and address in your book?

    Again, congratulations on your book, and I have no doubt you will help many, many authors to overcome their fears of public speaking. Best of luck to you with your own marketing and sales.


  4. Hey Lisa! The Civil War is an awesome topic and you're right, it has so many different avenues for research.

    As far as your question goes, I cover the act of apologizing before speaking. Now, this is slightly different than what you mean by qualifying and here's an example: "Hi, I'm not much of a public speaker, so please bear with me."

    The downside to this is that it could discount your credibility to the audience right off the bat. In a sense it's like telling the audience that it's OK to not pay attention or take the speaker seriously.

    However, what you qualify with touches more on your actual content rather than you and your ability to effectively communicate it, which is not necessarily a credibility killer. It even makes you more human. And based on the purpose of your speech (as you've described), I think it's just fine for your particular audience.

    As you noted, it's always best to be honest if someone asks you something that you don't know the answer to. In fact, this could be done without giving a qualifier for it. You could simply tell them that you don't know and that you'll get back to them, but rather do it WHEN it comes up instead of in advance. Perhaps something you could consider because there's always the chance that nothing comes up during your speech that you don't know the answer to.

    With that I'll add this "qualifier." Every speaker is different. I'm a huge believer in being yourself and not a cookie cutter version of someone else. My book is geared towards the idea of being the best "you" possible. That is, with an understanding of the fundamentals as well :)

    One other thing, talking to peers, that's some of the toughest speaking one could do. You're a brave soul! If you ever have any other specific questions, shoot me an email @ - I love the subject of public speaking and would gladly help.