Sunday, October 21, 2012

What You Gain from Public Speaking

Just two weeks ago, I spoke at Mahomet-Seymour Jr. High, one of many
schools I spoke at, as part of the Youth Literature Festival through the University of Illinois.
In total, I spoke to over 1000 kids in three days!
What an inspirational experience for me and what inspirational kids!
In October 2010, when my first book came out, I was painfully nervous talking in front of groups. It didn't matter if it were kids or adults, I'd have so much anxiety I'd come close to backing out, that's how bad it got! On one occasion, I was scheduled to speak in front of 450 kids and came close to cancelling with some lame excuse, because I wasn't about to tell them it was my horrible fear of utter failure! My husband told me I had to do it. He said, he knew I was scared, but it was more important to not let the kids down, and in turn, not let down myself. He was so right! It was a rewarding experience and as soon as I got going I was fine. I still fought the anxiety for a while, but now, two years later, talking in front of groups, big or small, is such a pleasure!

I literally get goose bumps when kids sit up in their chairs and I can see them listening and thinking. And after my presentations, when kids come up and tell me about their stories and what they're writing, I can feel their excitement about writing. They ask for advice and ask me what I think about their ideas, and trust me, some of these kids have amazing ideas! They inspire ME!

Long story short, never be scared to share your story or give your advice. Even if you fall on your face, if you've inspired one writer, young or old, or they've inspired you, something amazing just happened! 


Speaking of young inspiring writers, happy birthday to Lenny Lee! He's a teenager now! Someday, I hope to be in the audience when he's up there talking about his first book! :)

Thanks to you all!


Hilary

10 comments:

  1. I'd be scared too. Glad it went so well. Maybe you can do a post on how to do these presentations and what you do at yours.

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    1. I wing it! ;) My early issues were getting the timings right. Usually my talks last 45 minutes, but I'm a fast talker, so I had to learn to SLOW down! :) For me, having an extensive PP keeps me focused, also keeps the kids engaged with lots of silly pictures!

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  2. I'm glad you actually went through with it and that everything went so well. Clearly, you were all better off for it. And thanks for being so honest about the experience! :)

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    1. I think every one can learn to be a great public speaker. If you only knew the fear I had and the many sleepless nights! If I can do it, anyone can! :)

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  3. How awesome. I gave a talk to teens in an after school program. They are amazing. And I survived. =)

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    1. Teens are hard too, so that is awesome! You have to break through that teen "I don't like anything" shell! :)

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  4. Hi, Hilary! Sounds like your husband gave you a great pep talk.

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    1. He did! I just needed that little reality check and push out of the nest! ;)

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  5. I can't imagine you being nervous. :) Kids love it when authors take time to talk to them. My students were always so excited when we had author guest speakers. One author was particularly awesome. He did an autograph on a piece of paper and asked us to make copies for all the kids who weren't able to buy an autographed book. In a poor area, that is a priceless gift for those kids....

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  6. I would've been so scared. Good for you, Hil!

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