Monday, June 27, 2011

More Hints for Public Speaking - Workshops

What I'm reading: Murder in the Mind, by L.L. Bartlett; Treachery in Death, by J.D. Robb

Yesterday, I gave a presentation to my local RWA chapter. This was a craft workshop, and there are different considerations when doing an informal chat, which is what I talked about last week.

For a workshop, you're going to need more preparation, of course. Here are a few more hints for a successful presentation.

1. Even if it's one you've given until you think you could do it in your sleep, REVIEW THE MATERIAL in advance. You don't want to have to stop to read your notes.

2. Work from notes, NOT a printout of your workshop. You'll put everyone to sleep, because "reading" isn't "talking." You don't want to sound like a boring professor.

3. Have handouts. People will be more attentive if they know they don't have to struggle to write down everything you're saying.

4. Touch base with the organizer to make sure any equipment you required will be available.

5. Arrive early to set up. Make sure everything works. Be prepared with plans B and C if everything doesn't work. Can you give your talk if there's no powerpoint projector, or if your computer won't communicate with it? While technology can make your talk lively and give your audience something to focus on other than you, it can break down, or not work the way you expected.

6. Try to be interactive with your audience. Ask for their ideas if your topic permits. You're probably not talking about something where you're the only person in the room who's had experience along those lines. (Hint: I offer chocolate to anyone who participates in any fashion. Ask a volunteer to hand it out.)

7. HAVE FUN.

And, although I've never been invited to give a "featured presentation" at a conference, I found this on Bob Mayer's site yesterday and had to share. The tongue-in-cheek humor isn't really all that far off.And I urge you to check his site, because he has some excellent advice for going to a conference as a featured speaker. Some day, you might need it!



Tomorrow my guest is Jacqui Jacobi, who's talking about writing the Second Paragraph. Come back!

19 comments:

Donnell said...

Great workshop, Terry. Gave me lots to think about. Love your spreadsheet for names, and, although I outline, I also never thought of putting scenes already written up on the plotting board. IOW, I took a lot away from your program. Thanks!

Terry Odell said...

Thanks, Donnell. I think everyone develops a system that works, and the more bits and pieces we have to play around with, the more we can refine our systems.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Good points on giving workshops, Terry! I made the mistake once of using my handout for my notes and won't do that again! :)

Mona Risk said...

Good points, Terry. I was asked once to give an impromptu talk at a conference and had only two hours to prepare, so I talked about what I knew and my personal experience. As you said, I made sure to involve other people in order not to be boring.
http://monarisk.blogspot.com/2011/03/ecc-25th-anniversary-presentation.html
Here it is, if you want to see it.
www.monarisk.com

Terry Odell said...

Elizabeth - trial and error learning works, although I always feel that I've left the group with a "not as good as it should have been" presentation.

Mona - it's always good to have a few areas that are comfortable stashed away in your head for situations like that.

June Shaw said...

Great ideas. I'm going to keep them to use for while I'm writing. Thanks for sharing.

Carol Kilgore said...

Good chocolate...er, I mean, tips. Loved the video :)

Terry Odell said...

June, happy to share.

Carol - yeah chocolate & the video were probably the highlights of this post.

Bob Mayer said...

Thanks for the mention-- your points are well taken.

Terry Odell said...

Bob - thanks -- maybe someday I'll get to use the points you made in your blog. I'm still a teeny tiny fish.

Maryann Miller said...

The tips are most helpful as I prepare a workshop in a couple of weeks. Like your new profile picture, too.

Terry Odell said...

Maryann - glad the timing worked out! Better than the day after your workshop, right? And I had a very productive photo session. Trying to decide which of the head shots I like best--or maybe I'll just have a different one on every site. Saves making decisions.

Karen said...

Loved the tips, Terry. I know I used them all - well, maybe not the chocolate - when I had to do presentations. Didn't help with the nerves though. Loved the Bob Mayer 'video'!! Thanks.

Terry Odell said...

Karen - if you'd used chocolate, you wouldn't have had nerves--you're allowed to eat some yourself before the presentation.

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Short writing exercises can help during a longer workshop. People always like to read aloud what they've written.

Terry Odell said...

Nancy - good suggestion (although I'm NOT in that group, but others are, so if the topic lends itself to writing, a short sample can be a good exercise)

Regina Richards said...

Good Points. Funny video. Thanks.

Bob Mayer said...

One thing I always wonder about is using Powerpoint presentations. I tend to do it for two main reasons: it keeps me on track and on subject; and I use film clips. However, I also feel like I'm constrained by the slides and that sometimes people pay more attention to the slides than the material.

Terry Odell said...

Bob - back in the dark ages when I was getting my teacher certification at UCLA, a professor recommended using the overhead projector (yeah, I'm old! That was cutting edge technology then) for remedial students because they'd look at the light.

There are pros and cons to PowerPoint, and I'm always afraid it won't work. For my plotting workshop, I use both PowerPoint AND a flip chart.

I think audiences almost expect PP these days, although my talk for Emerald City on POV will be just me and handouts.