Tag Archives: Public Speaking

On being a #writer and #publicSpeaking

So this past Saturday I gave my first ever PowerPoint presentation to my local chapter of RWA.

To say I was nervous would be to do a disservice to the knocking in my knees and the way my heart was shooting extra beats.

I’ve spoken publically before, — hell, I use to teach Nursing to undergrads! – but I haven’t spoken publically in a very long time. In fact, I haven’t done anything publically in a very long time, not since I retired and started writing full time.

I think I was nervous because  I didn’t want to screw up, be boring, or deliver a topic that didn’t appeal to the audience. I didn’t eat anything all day because I was terrified I’d hurl!

I’m sitting here to report (1) I did not hurl, (2) I was absolutely starving the minute the presentation ended! (3) my audience laughed, repeatedly and freely in all the appropriate spots (4) there was discussion about the topic – a lot of discussion, so YAY!, and (5) my audience seemed to genuinely like the presentation.

So, again, YAY!!!

Now I just have to get my nerve up again, because I’m giving this presentation again next month to another group.

But I’ll think about that…tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day.

When I’m not being overly dramatic, you can find me here:

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Public Speaking…Part 2

So  I promised you I’d give you a little insight into the 2 sessions I taught ( very loose use of that word!) at last week’s Womens’ Weekend Retreat.

These were my notes for the two programs:

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One talk was called DREAM BIG, the other HOW TO WRITE A BOOK. That second one sounds a little pretentious, but it really wasn’t!

The Dream Big session was about how we, as women of a certain age ( read: menopausal and above) have tended to place our hopes and dreams on the back burners so our families, spouses, and everyone else can see fit to fulfill their hearts’ desires. I gave reasons why we do this, why we put ourselves last, why we never reach for the brass ring when we get to a certain age.

Then I told the group why they were all wrong to do that.

Yeah, that went over big.

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Using myself and many other much more well-known women as examples, I showed how it didn’t matter what age you’d reached in life, you could still fulfill the dream of your heart. You just had to believe you could make it come true and start figuring out ways you could, right away. Then I showed them what those ways were.

That went over a little better.

The second talk was basically an overview of how to get from idea to published. This talk was packed and it did my little heart so good to see so many women had a story to tell. And what stories they were!!

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I could have used two or more hours on this session because the women had sosososos many great questions.

Now, the point of this blog was to talk about public speaking and how much I abhor it. I know people always smirk and lift their eyebrows in wonder when I say that because, well, I talk all the time. A lot. I’ll talk to a rock if no one else is around. But talking one-on-one with someone is sososososos much easier than having to get up in a group and deliver an erudite message.

And the last word anyone can associate me with is erudite. Look it up if you don’t know what it means.

But…

I sucked up my nerves and luckily there were a few women I knew personally in the groups, so that made my whole speaking to strangers anxiety abate a tad. What I truly did was just have a conversation with the women. Not a talk, well, not a classroom-like one, anyway, Just a basic back and forth interchange of ideas and questions.

This I could do. Easily.

And– yowza– I did! It was…fun. Much more so than I’d originally thought. In truth, anytime you get a group of women of a certain age in a room together, the exchange of thoughts, ideas, information, and laughs is soul-elevating.

So, if they ask me to come back again next year I….might.  I’ll certainly reboot my “talks” and make some changes, but I think I might be okay doing it again. I didn’t fall flat on my face, cry, or speak in tongues from nerves, so those are all positives, right??

When I’m not having anxiety attacks about public speaking you can find me here:

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Public speaking isn’t for sissies…

So, this weekend I’ll be here:

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I’m part of the Vendor’s event on Friday night,  hawking my books and pressing the flesh ( why that always sounds so dirty to me, I can’t tell ya, but it does! )

Saturday I’m giving two “talks” or classes, as the camp is calling them. One is titled DREAM BIG the other, WRITING A BOOK, two concepts I know a great deal about.

Anyone who knows me knows I love to talk. I’ll talk to practically anyone, anywhere any time. My grandmother used to say I’d talk to a rock if it would listen. She’s wasn’t wrong.

But speaking to another person one-on-one or in a small group of your friends is totally different from getting up in front of a bunch of strangers and commanding a topic.

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I tend to babble when I’m nervous. I tend to go off on tangents if something strikes me as funny. I tend to avoid eye contact because I’m so nervous. None of these little idiosyncrasies warms a listener’s heart when they have paid cash-money to hear you speak about a topic you are supposed to be proficient in and an expert on.

There are a million tactics to dealing with this nervous anxiety. Picturing your audience naked is one of the oldest and most quoted pieces of advice. But folks, seriously? I’m a romance writer. I write about naked people all the time! If I started envisioning my audience naked I’d most likely start to think up stories to put couples in the crowd together! Not a good tactic at all.

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Someone else offered me the advice of speaking to the crowd as if they were all a bunch of my friends and we were just chatting. Again- do you know me??? I have more “friends” on facebook than I do in real life. I’m never around more than 4 people at a time. EVAH!!!

One thing I did do for these two talks was write out all the bullet points I wanted to speak about and then transferred them to index cards. At least this way I can stick to topic and not go off on one of my numerous side trips and a non-sensical conversations.

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Arghghgh, as Charlie Brown so correctly says.

What have I gotten myself into? It’s so hard being a 50-ish, chubby, nervous, introvert in today’s youth obsessed, anorexic, let-everything-hang-out-there world.

I think I’ll go back to writing now to calm myself.

When I’m not having anxiety attacks about public speaking you can find me here:

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