Tuesday, February 23, 2010


A year ago this time I was getting psyched about attending LIFE IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Author Opportunities After Publication.

The workshop is being offered again March 11 -16. So if you're an writer who wants to improve your speaking and presenting skills, I recommend catching a plane and heading for Honesdale, PA. (It's not to late to sign up!)

Last year, I blogged about my experience so I'll repost one of those entries now.

See those two. That's Tracy from Highlights Foundation on the right. She's got a videotape in her hand. And she and Peter Jacobi are scheming against 7 unsuspecting workshoppers.

So here's how it goes. Jacobi gives us an assignment to speak extemporaneously for one minute on a subject of our choosing. We get maybe 60 seconds to decide who our audience is and what we're going to say. Then we stand in front of the group and start talking while Tracy aims the video camera right at us.
When we have all sufficiently embarrassed ourselves, Tracy hands the tape over to Jacobi who pops it into the VCR. We get to watch ourselves, analyze our own performance and give feedback to each other. I suppose it's just as well my next photo is blurry. Because really, I don't look so good!

But Jacobi has made his point. Extemporaneous speeches do not work. Preparation is key!

Okay he has our attention!

And now Jacobi begins to school us in the art of speech making. He makes a number of points!

7 Part Process of Giving a Speech

  • 6 Elements to Consider In Developing a Speech
  • 12 P's to Avoid
  • 8 Questions to Ask As You Prepare
  • 4 Knows
  • 13 Interest Factors

Oh and how about this formula? E/A + I + I + I = S

For lack of time I will say that it all boils down to one thing. Do not bore your audience!

And the formula that makes the workshop so memorable? It's a simple one, really.

One brilliant jouranlism professor + a roomful of writer friends + 14 fabulous meals multiplied by days of instruction and hands-on experience = phenomenal experience plus a big boost in self-confidence.

Who even cares about that video camera?

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