ANDY FISH is a comic book artist

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Public Speaking

If you were to go back in time and tell me I would occasionally get paid to talk to groups of 1000 or more people at a time and that I would ENJOY it I would have looked at you like you lost your luggage on your voyage from Pluto to Mars.

The very first time I was asked to talk before a group-- I think there might have been fifteen people in all, I was almost double over trying to get a breath before the event, but like jumping out of an airplane with your only hope a thin silk chute you just do it and hope for the best.

It gets easier the more you do it.

Some tips:
1. Have a thorough knowledge of your subject matter.  It's that easy.  Know what you're talking about.  DON'T write a script.  DON'T read from a piece of paper.  On OCCASION I'll have an index card with three or four bullet points on it to remind me of something I want to say but no more than that.  There's nothing worse or more confidence shaking than loosing your place or trying to make out your own handwriting.

2. Unless you're a comedian save the jokes.  I don't believe in opening with a joke, if you can find something amusing or self-depreciating to say it will break the ice just as well.

3. Learn how to dance.  Over the years I've learned how to be quick on my feet-- at two different events I attended I didn't even know I was speaking until I got there.  Once I thought I was talking to a group of 10 parents only to find out it was more like 900.  Changes the dynamics but not the message.

4. Test the equipment before if possible.  Microphones and I don't get along.  If I have to hold it I feel like I should sing something-- and nobody wants that to happen.  Headsets are the absolute best alternative followed by lapel mike then stationary.  Ask your venue to use what works best for you and you'll find the lecture goes much smoother.

5. Keep it short.  No matter how fascinating you or your message is people got places to go and things to do.  Keep it short and they'll ask you back.

This upcoming season I've got well over a dozen speaking engagements and amazingly, I look forward to them now.  Guess that trip from Pluto to Mars was less bumpy than I thought it would have been.