An event to remember
The other day I was in a seminar given by Dave Vanhoose and Dustin Mathews. It was a day full of information and practical guidelines on speaking in public and building up a strong presentation.
A week before that, I was given the honor to open an exhibition. I had to deliver a short speech of about 5 to 8 minutes and then I had to perform the actual opening.
It was a great moment, although a couple of things didn’t go fluently.
Let me start by stating that I am rather critical. Especially about my own functioning. So when I say things didn’t go smoothly, this means that things went rather well, it was just not perfect enough.
I aim for perfection.
Pictures are stills from a film by Jeroen Mols © published with his permission
The things I learned from Dave and Dustin
There is a time and place for everything
It was not only me that was laughing 🙂
If the seminar had taken place a week before the opening, instead of the week after, my presentation at the art event would have been different. Although the seminar was intended to improve my sales skills and the opening of the exhibition was a favor to a friend, I still would have altered a couple of things.
What I liked most about Dave was his persevernce – he overcame a pretty serious accident, that prevented him from walking for quite some time and build his business after this untimely event.
What I am going to improve the next time
- Next time, no matter how nervous the organizer of the event is, I want a proper introduction
- I want to rehearse speaking out loud before the event. In this particular case the echo of the room set me off and since I had been in the place the day before I could have easily found out by rehearsing
- I did structure my speech, but I have to give it a better start and finish
It doesn’t matter if something goes wrong, just fix it in a gracious way
What I did right
It feels so good to find out that I did a lot of things on intuition that were right.
- It was a speech of 8 minutes so I had only 2 keywords. I repeated those several times, so they were clear to the public
- I told a personal story and interweaved it with art in general
- I mentioned all the participants of the exhibition by name and gave a personal impression about their art
After my talk I had to split a stone for the actual opening. Very appropriate since the artists were all sculptors. Have a look at the YouTube-film for this.
Speaking in public: Make a point.
Repeat it once. Then repeat it another time.
A recommendation: Visit seminars
The great thing about the seminar of Vanhoose and Mathews was that they gave a presentation but along the way explained all the things behind the scene. This way we could see how to present ourselves and judge their talk at the same time.
They promised us we would never attend a seminar again without watching closely how and what the speaker is doing. That way you pick up a lot of useful tips for yourself as well.
How to overcome your limitations
Just do it and over and over and over again
I herewith declare the exhibition is opened
It’s really great to speak in public, I can assure you. Don’t think I am not nervous or that I am very self-assured. As a kid I was always lingering behind others, I blushed when somebody spoke to me directly and would rather sit somewhere in the middle than at the front.
I had to overcome a lot of insecurities and shyness.
But once you manage to overcome your own anxiety you feel like you’re on top of the world.
The best tip I can give you at this moment is: record yourself.
This was one thing I kept on postponing, but I asked someone to record my opening speech. And what I found out was that I did a lot better in the film on the screen than I did in the film in my head.
Plus I now have some things to work on for my next speech.
As my son would say: “paso a paso”. I am improving one step at a time.
Do you have a tip about speaking in public too?