Last Thursday (April 19, 2018) I was the featured speaker at our monthly Central Oregon SAQA (art quilting) group meeting.
What I Presented
I did a presentation (complete with “death by PowerPoint”…I did try to keep the PowerPoint slides as engaging as possible with primarily photos) on the Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN) and the 2017 Quilters Take Manhattan (QTM) event I attended in NYC in September 2017.
I used these previous tierneycreates and Improvisational Textiles blog posts as the basis for my presentation:
- The “Dance Partner” – Michael Cummings at QTM 2017
- Spiritual Quilting – Sherri Lynn Wood at QTM 2017
- Behind the Scenes at the Antonio Ratti Textile Center – QTM 2017
- Wrap Up of QTM 2017 Weekend
- Creative Inspiration: Stories My Father Told Me
- The Lesson & The Equation (tierneycreates)
- The Lesson & The Equation (Improvisational Textiles)
I used some of the key text from these posts but also included more photos than were in the posts (I have a crazy amount of photos from QTM 2017!). For fun I also snuck in some family photos (I met up with my sister, brother and two awesome nephews) from the trip, especially some of my highly adorable 5 year old and now 14 year old nephews!
I also brought a copy of all the WCQN Exhibit books by Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi in my personal collection for the attendees to look through while I spoke (so they would not fall asleep during my presentation):
- And Still We Rise: Race, Culture and Visual Conversation
- Threads of Faith: Recent Works from the Women of Color Quilters Network
- Journey of Hope: Quilts Inspired by President Barack Obama
- Textural Rhythms: Quilting the Jazz Tradition
- Quilting African American Women’s History
I also brought a copy of Sherri Lynn Woods’ book The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously just in case there was any art quilter in our group that had not heard of this book.
Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) attended the presentation also and helped me haul all those books to the speaking engagement.
No one appeared to fall asleep during my presentation and they actually appeared quite engaged (or faked it very well!)
If you’ve followed my blog for a while you know my obsession with my public library. What was cool (at least to me) was that my presentation was done in the Conference room of the Sisters Branch of the Deschutes Public Library. So I got to speak at the library (huge smile)!
Key to Overcoming the Fear of Public Speaking: Be Delusional & Improvisational
One of my Central Oregon SAQA friends asked me before the presentation if I was nervous and I said “no”.
I am not sure if I should be nervous but I am never really nervous before a speaking engagement. I have this likely delusional belief, especially if I am speaking in front of a group that knows me, that they want me to succeed and are cheering me on (hopefully no one breaks my delusion!).
I used to do a lot of public speaking professionally when I was a trainer (before the days of telecommuting) at work and at professional conferences. If you’ve done corporate training, especially mandatory corporate training, you know about speaking to an audience that may not want to be there!
What broke me of any fear of public speaking (possibly creating my delusion that everyone is cheering for me) was an experience many, many years ago when I spoke at a conference that my employer put on for one our retail clients when I worked for a Workers’ Compensation Carrier.
It was a large group of managers for one of our retail clients (a national group) that looked like their souls had been sucked out of their bodies (please know I have nothing against who works in retail, this group of conference attendees were just very lifeless, they could have been in any industry). Also as you could imagine, managing work related injuries is not the most exciting all day conference topic!
During the conference, I watched one presenter after the other painfully struggle through their presentation with a highly “unengaged” and bored audience.
When it was my turn, I figured the crowd/audience could not dislike me anymore than they obviously already disliked the previous presenters, so what the heck – I was going to have fun.
So when I got up to the podium, I had an improvisational moment and I took the microphone off the podium stand and started walking through the crowd with it. I did my presentation as if I was performing a nite-club act: Walking through the crowd, speaking directly to audience members and being very animated.
Shockingly I got the first round of audible strong applause for the day! I even saw some actual smiles in the crowd (like their souls had briefly returned to their bodies!)
After that I had no fear of public speaking. Ultimately if the audience hates me, they hate me (but I always secretly know they are cheering for me – my insanity is so delicious!)
A follow up to the post Additional Conversations – Completed , one of my blogging buddies asked me what was behind the name “Additional Conversations”. This made me realize I better go write the Artist Statement.
I’ve posted about this piece on the Improvisational Textiles blog and if you are curious on the story behind the piece, here is the link: Additional Conversations.
(Note I do need to take the piece outside in the right light and take an even better photo – I am just being lazy as I already hung it up in the Living Room!)