Wednesday, February 24, 2010

WRITERS: EEK! My First Speaking Engagement! What's Your Advice???

So...I have my first official speaking engagement this Friday! I'm speaking at the Celebrating Language Arts Institute Day here in the Chicago area. There will be *gulp* 600 teachers in attendance, from all over the globe! At least there's no pressure! Yeah, right!

I'm working on my Powerpoint presentation (never thought I'd say that) and it's going very well! I'm speaking to teachers who write and want to learn more about becoming published! There are a lot of teachers who write (many of them published several times over!) so I'm hoping I'll have more than 2 people in my workshop, and of those more than 2 people, I hope they aren't going to my workshop because all the one's they wanted were full! Ha! Elana Johnson, prolific blogger and fellow writer, gave me some great advice last night (and sparked the idea to do the Powerpoint, which I didn't think I'd have time to do), so thanks Elana for your virtual handholding!!

So now I'm reaching out to YOU! Any advice on giving a good presentation? It certainly doesn't have to be about writing, it could be about anything. What do you do to keep your audience engaged or organize your thoughts?
Though rusty, I'm not too worried about speaking in front of a group. Anyone who knows me from way back when can tell you I was a total drama nerd! Well, now I'm a total writing nerd! Yay for that!!!!

So, any good advice for me, other than duck when I see a tomato coming?

xoxo -- Hilary

28 comments:

  1. You'll do great. PowerPoint is a great tool, but be careful that you don't just put stuff up there and read it off the screen to the audience (I got that tip from a teacher who has attended way too many workshops where the presenter did exactly that).

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  2. Thanks, Jen! I'll take all the good luck I can get!

    Scotti, super tip! Yep my PP slides are more markers for me to talk and to be honest some silly things I'm hoping my audience will think are as funny as me! Ha, ha! Here's to hoping!

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  3. Practice your speech aloud, at least five times. You'll sound silly to yourself, but there's nothing like it for preparation. Good luck!

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  4. I have no advice on the speaking part of things but I'm sure it's going to go great. Go, Hilary, Go! You'll have a blast!

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  5. You, some ice cream, and reflections on how you got to where you are. You'll be so ready for anything after that.

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  6. So you did get the email! Yay! Um, I think you're going to do awesome. Just relax and remember that they're there because they think YOU'RE the expert. And you ARE! So just act like it and it's going to be awesomesauce!

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  7. So excited for you!!

    I agree with Simon... Practice out loud!! Also, let your personality shine through!! I saw Ally Carter (The Gallagher Girls series, Heist Society)speak last week and what attached me to her was how funny she was. It's not that she told jokes, she was REAL, and I felt connected to her, and by the end of the night, I thought she was my friend. Haha. I'm sure you'll do great!

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  8. A stiff drink? No? Oh well, I guess like Simon said, practice, practice, practice.

    Good luck! Look forward to your next update :)

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  9. Simon, Great idea! My husband said I could present it to him, but he'll make me more nervous than a room full of strangers! Plus I joke about him in it!

    Casey, you are the cheer leading bomb! Thank you!

    Jonathan, maybe I could bring the ice cream to the teachers! How could they possibly not like someone who gives them ice cream! :)

    Elana, I totally responded to your email! Arggh! Will resend! Stupid email...grumble...grumble. Awesomesauce! Excellent word! Thanks again for your help! You ROCK!

    Kristin, that's the key, no? To feel connected to the speaker. I will do my best not to embarrass the people who have given me such great advice!!!

    Wendy, Who needs practice when you have martinis??? :)

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  10. I am no pro at public speaking, but someone once advised me to think of a funny anecdote to break the ice. Other than note cards to help you remember your points, that's all I've got. Good luck!

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  11. Tricia,

    I'm all about the funny! Hopefully they'll think I'm funny too and I won't get blank stares as the tumbleweeds roll by!!! :)

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  12. Try not to say "Um" too often. At least that's what my college speech teacher told me. LOL

    But most of all, have fun. Then your audience will to. They're so lucky to have you!

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  13. Good luck, Hilary! I think a few silly things in your Power Point will go over well. No one wants a boring presentation, and I am certain yours will be anything but! I hope you bring some stuffed or fake rats!

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  14. I was told once that you should imagine your audience is totally naked. I did that once, but it was really cold in the room and I gave myself the giggles. So maybe thats not such a good idea. :)

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  15. Amanda! "Um" is a killer! I know someone who says "Um" whenever he's talking to a group and it's soooo bad--but there's nothing I can do to help him!

    Kelly, I was actually thinking about that, believe it or not! I have a collection of toy rats. They're all so cute and one, my first one, sat on top of my monitor the whole time I wrote Nightshade City, so I should totally bring him! I named him Vincent after my son!

    DL, Okay, what is with people suggesting that?? I've heard that since I was a kid! Ick! That would ook me out, not ease my nerves! Even if they were all perfect looking, it would just be too weird!! Ha, ha!!

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  16. Congrats Hilary! Saying it out loud works. Maybe even in front of a mirror, so you can see another face looking back at you,(even if it's yourself:) Break the ice with a joke. Make em smile...you'll do great.

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  17. Elliot, I'm glad everyone has mentioned jokes and being funny! I'm as goofy as they come and hopefully they will appreciate my dorky sense of humor!!! Ha, ha! Thanks for your advice!!!

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  18. Having a powerpoint to accompany your presentation is definitely the way to go. You've probably heard it before, but it's worth repeating. Try not to overcrowd each side with two many pictures or full sentences; it's hard on the eyes. Bullet points are the way to go. Best of luck!

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  19. Good luck! A fellow-blogger was just preparing for a talk and asked for advice. See her post and the comments:

    http://karenjonesgowen.blogspot.com/2010/02/author-presentation-help.html

    Hope this helps.

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  20. Crimey! I did not hear about the "overcrowding" before! Excellent tip I will try to stay aware of!

    Theresa, Thanks for link! Running over there now!

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  21. My advice is: Be awesome.

    ...oh wait, you already are!

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  22. Good luck! Just mentally tell yourself you'll be fine--as many times as it takes for you to believe it! AND with confidence, especially in those types of situations? You HAVE to fake it til ya make it. Just ACT like you're carefree and relaxed and eventually, you really will be.

    Oh and Crimey is 100% correct.

    I was a PR major so I had a few jobs in the communications field out of college. I had to develop lots of presentations for them. If you need any help feel free to email me! sara.a.mcclung at gmail

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  23. Chan! There is that warm Texas hospitality! You are so sweet! I hope your birthday was awesome! My son is 7 today!

    Margo, doesn't happen until tomorrow! :)

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  24. Sara! I'm already going to convince you into helping me with my book trailer! Ha, ha!

    Well, I'm finishing my Powerpoint pres tonight and then off with my head tomorrow! I read to my son's 1st grade class today. It was a pirate book and they laughed at my silly pirate accent! Of course they are all 6 and 7, so... ;)

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  25. Your first speaking assignment will have 600 in attendance?? That is incredible. Haha, no pressure!

    My advice, be yourself, try to connect with the audience somehow, maybe difficult with so many, don't hide behind your book, and share your personality even more than share your book. Don't read from the book--much if at all. And don't forget to say your name at the beginning, like assuming they already know you. There's something immediately connecting about saying your name.

    All this advice comes from my own failures!! Good luck!!

    KarenG

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  26. The one thing I've learned, in regards to public speaking, is that IF you know the material you want to present, then you should be ok. Knowing the material inside and out, so that come hell or high water, if anything fails (including power point) you'll be able to deliver the information. ALSO, if your nerves get the better of you, open it up a little and ask the audience a question... the interaction they bring will help bring some focus off you and let your nerves calm a bit. Those are the two biggest helps that I've encountered.

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