Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Joys and Horrors of Public Speaking

The Morning Read

Work in Paint & Thread

This Wednesday I am headed to Midland for a lecture and a sort of "show and tell" of my artwork. I remember the first time I was asked to speak to a group and I was so very close to saying "no" just because of the fear it instilled in me.

The first time I remember public speaking was when I was in high school and we had to deliver our book reports orally. As the time due closer for me to stand up in front of my classmates my stomach was doing all kinds of wierd things. The day of, my hands wouldn't stop shaking and neither would my voice, my hands got sweaty and my throat dried up. Can you say "panic attack". That is exactly what it felt like but you know what? I did it and there is a great sense of accomplishment in taking on something that frightens you. It's that whole "stepping out of the box" thing.
I've heard it said that if you are attending a funeral, if given the choice most people would rather be in the coffin than deliverying the eulogy. Maybe it's our deep seated fear of looking foolish in front of others or perhaps thinking our audience won't find us very interesting. Either way it is daunting to stand in front of others........more or less saying "Here I am".

My first talk regarding my work was to a group of about 70......truth be told I don't even remember the first 5 minutes except I thank god that they had a podium for me to stand behind because my hands were shaking so badly I would never have been able to read my lecture unless I had something to put it on. But you know what? .... after that first 5 minutes rolled on by I was feeling pretty good. I actually started to enjoy myself......yeah...enjoy myself.

I think some of that enjoyment was derived by the fact that I spend most of my day alone in the studio. Here was this opportunity for me to talk about my passion, my work, to people who were genuinely interested in what I do. They asked lots of questions regarding my technique, my inspiration etc. etc. In the end I had a good time. Since then I've spoken quite a bit and every time I feel nervous for that first five minutes and then it all gets easier. I think John gave me some great tips.......
  1. Meet as many people as you can before your talk. This breaks the ice.
  2. If your feeling tense, look for someone in the audience who is smiling at you and really fascianted by what your saying. Focus on them.
  3. Remember even if you suck the world isn't going to end.
  4. These people are here because they want to be. They are interested in what you do.
  5. Try to enjoy the moment.........remember "this too shall pass".

Next blog I'm going to be talking about selling online as well as one of my "newest" favourite artists from Washington.


girl work studios said...

Argghh, I think Blogger ate my comment from this morning, I'll try again. Those are useful tips! I'm sure you'll do great! I do remember the shaky hands and squeeky voice from high school speeches (that was me too). It sure is nice to get older and lose a lot of that kind of self consciousness.

Melody said...

Isn't it though? Once you get to be a certain age.....that being over 40 for me....your like "here I am, hope you like what I have to say but if you don't....oh well!
thanks for your commment...I always enjoy it. Loved your last post