My technology was ahead of their technology and we didn't have the right plug to make it all work.
NO problem. An absolutely hilarious lady drove me to Radio Shack. Well, we STARTED to Radio Shack, but we were cutting up so much we ended up eight miles in the wrong direction before we realized it. NO problem. We can roll with that. Found the Radio Shack, bought a connector, and zoom, back to the venue.
And then the projector didn't like Windows 7.
And that's when I started to panic. A little bit.
Actually, a lot.
|Baby Zack is very, very concerned if mom can pull this off.|
I sat down and nibbled a fingernail while I watched two people try to make my computer play nicely with the projector. It became apparent that it wasn't going to work at all, and I had about five minutes to come up with an ENTIRELY new presentation WITHOUT the help of visual aids. I frantically thought about the four pieces of jewelry I brought, and what I could perhaps show from the book, and how I'd turn that into a presentation that would entertain a huge room. Five minutes, girl, and you're UP!
I have no idea what exactly I said.
I do know that at times people laughed (thankfully, not AT me) and there were some REALLY good questions. The entire time I'm talking, I'm thinking of that really GOOD presentation I had that I couldn't even begin to use because how can I talk about design when I have nothing to SHOW?
It all ended up OK (I've been told!). I was told by the coordinator that a bunch of people had asked her to get me in to teach (which I love to do). I answered a lot of questions after the event and drove home in a daze. What had I said? Did it come out right?
I honestly don't know.
What I DO know is public speaking is definitely not for everyone, and I'm fortunate that I like to do it and have had a fair amount of experience with it. My video about the Bead Soup book, for instance, is completely unscripted.
My suggestions to those who have public speaking in their future:
1) Always have a Plan B. At the last minute, I tossed jewelry in my bag. Thankfully! I also had in the back of my mind one line the coordinator had said in our last email -- see if you can talk a little about the value of blogging and Facebook. Thankfully, that's a subject I can really talk to.
2) If you're going to give a PowerPoint or video presentation, ask the venue to bring THEIR equipment and load yours on a Flash Drive. Or two. Technology is a funny thing -- it gets ahead of a lot of OTHER technology. So be prepared.
3) Remember that you're talking to people, and you're a "people", too. I'll bet that the majority of the ladies in that room were a) so sorry things didn't work out through no fault of ANYBODY'S, and b) were really glad it wasn't them in front of the room. So make a quick joke about it, and move on. You normally aren't asked to speak, and you normally don't ACCEPT the invitation to speak, if you don't have anything to talk about.
4) Chocolate helps. I add that because when it became apparent the computer was NOT going to show my presentation, I was handed a brownie. And believe it or not -- it helped.
Not everyone is a public speaker. I enjoyed it in college, I enjoyed it in the Air Force, I USUALLY enjoyed it when I was in IT. If you have a passion for what your subject is, that makes it all the easier. Take a deep breath, come with back up and a joke, and dive in. Ask questions when you find yourself in a "duh" spot and hope the audience will give you another talking point.
Just pack some chocolate.
Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking here. She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book Bead Soup.
Join her at the Facebook group Bead Soup Cafe for bead chat, swaps, challenges, and lots of eye candy!