The Beginner's Guide to Public Speaking
So far I've spoken to six local groups, been a guest at three book clubs, and had two book signings for A Joyful Embrace: A Memoir. After each event, like the mightiest of seeds, new opportunities to spread Mimi's message are planted.
What I have learned about speaking in front of groups, whether small or large, is it requires skills I am still learning. I thought it would be interesting to share some of my tips as they require, like a certain Liam Neeson movie, a particular set of skills.
Stand behind a podium. It will help hold you up in case you feel faint or feel the need to run. If necessary, duct tape one hand to the podium. It helps that I feel Mimi holding my hand in those "hard to talk about" moments.
Know your audience. I definitely tailor my speeches to the group. I spoke to HARTA, a lovely large group of area retired teachers two weeks ago. They were so supportive and lovely. My speech to the teachers was much different than the executive breakfast group, mostly men. The men were peppered with lots of statistics. The teachers ... not so much!
Bring visuals, if appropriate. For the retired teachers, I shared three quilts: the art quilt that represents the book cover, the small tactile quilt Mimi was given during her early intervention years, and a handprint quilt from early childhood. Two of the quilts tell a powerful story (in the book) about a slice in time in Mimi's journey. Can you pick Mimi out in the photo below?
Take photos! This is the part I am still working on. Except for the book launch, I continue to come away with few event photographs. They are a necessary part of, for instance, writing a blog post about the book journey. I need to make eyeball-to-eyeball contact with a willing individual who will take a number of photos. If I just remembered I betcha nine dollars people would be swarming me like paparazzi on Kim Kardashian for the opportunity.
On my Google calendar this week ... I will be discussing Mimi's book with two book clubs!