Wednesday, October 30, 2013

On Public Speaking

Today I participated in a class offered through my employer on Successful Public Speaking.  I don't particularly have a problem speaking in public - in my various roles and hats that I wear - I tend to do a lot of public speaking.

It was an opportunity for me to hear about where "the knowledge bar" is these days and what the current "do's and don'ts" of public speaking are.  The instructor was outstanding (as she is in most things - although she is retiring in January and leaves some might big "ruby slippers" to fill).  I say ruby slippers - as she equated our experience today to going on a journey of unforeseen consequences, unforeseen circumstances, and unforeseen outcomes - much like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.  She also used some visuals, including Paul McCartney and George Harrison (she has a thing for the Beatles) and a clip from Home Improvement, specifically an episode where Jill has to give a speech.

For the class, we had to prepare (and then deliver) one-minute, two-minute, and three-minute speeches.  In the first speech, we had to "inform, motivate, or persuade" our audience about a particular topic.  The second (two-minute) speech asked us to use an illustration / visual aid to make our point.  The final speech was to use visual, vocal, and/or verbal techniques to convey our message.

I procrastinated on preparing for the speeches (much like Jill Taylor does in Home Improvement) - finally making some notes on the metro ride in this morning.  I chose the topic of professional organizations for my first speech (as most of you know, I am involved in several professional organizations, including currently serving as Chair of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference.  I spent my minute extolling the virtues of being professional active and finished under the time deadline by telling the audience to talk with me after if they were interested in being more involved.

For the second speech, I employed the visual aid of a thumb drive to illustrate what happens when you get records on a medium that is not supposed to be transferred to the archives.  Of course (for those of you monitoring - the thumb drive was my own, the other thumb drive is locked away at work).  I used the remainder of my time explaining the "problem" and the "solution" that I would employ to deal with the thumb drive transfer.

Finally after lunch (never a good time to give a speech - or listen to one, for that matter), I explained for the audience how one "Trick or Treats" with an 8-year old (LBA) and a 5-year old (SoBA).  I explained how the costume selection process went at the launchpad - LBA is planning on being Harry Potter for Halloween, while SoBA has flitted from costume to costume, before finally settling on (we think) Indiana Jones - we'll find out tomorrow what is the winner.  In order to keep the audience engaged (and use visuals), I went out at lunch time and bought a bag of Halloween candy to proffer to them, which I believe helped my case a great deal.

Happy Halloween to all of you out there!  "See you on the other side, Ray!"

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