Friday, March 19, 2010

Put Away those Public Speaking Fears: Pt 2

In an earlier post, Elizabeth Downing gave some background and ideas for making through public presentations. She's an example of good planning as she comes ready to present. In one of her most crafty moves, she had a small print (with her contact info on it) under each seat in the theatre during her talk as a part of the PhotoSlam at the OKC Museum of Art a few years ago. I assure you, everyone remembered her and she didn’t appear nervous at all!

Here's her super short top 10 tips for making the most of public speaking.

1. This isn’t easy. Accept it as such. But it gets better and easier each time you do it.

2. Force yourself to look forward to this. Imagine you’re in a room full of people who love you and want to see you succeed.

3. If making eye contact is hard for you, pick a few people in the crowd and talk to them.

4. Do not read directly from notes (or PowerPoint). There is no better way to bore an audience. Use your notes or slides as a starting point only.

5. Make them laugh or identify with you right off the bat.

6. Embrace and reflect your confidence – it doesn’t have to be confidence in yourself, it could be your belief in the strength of your work. A conversational tone helps.

7. The more audience participation, the better.

8. Use any help you can get. Seed the audience with your friends or family. Wear your lucky charm, your favorite ring, or the pair of pants you know you look great in.

9. Offer yourself a reward for making it through – your favorite cocktail, a shopping spree, a piece of tiramisu, or a visit to the art supply store.

10. Remember that, for good or for bad, this experience can provide some great material for your next artwork.

OVAC offers an Artist Survival Kit Retreat: “ARTiculate” April 16-18 at Post Oak Lodge in Tulsa. This will improve their ability to articulate artistic and career concepts, educate others and make public presentations. Led by innovative educator Jane Varmecky, the retreat will include interactive training about adult education techniques and the dynamics of group training. There will also be time to learn from and share with other participants. Learn more at

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