This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

March 10, 2010

Public speaking for software training

I started teaching at The Art Institute of Phoenix in 1996. The easy part was the curriculum, which was graphic design, and the software, which was QuarkXPress, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. The hard part was public speaking. Like most people, I was pretty bad at it and it made me nervous to get up in front of an audience. But I got better. Now, as someone who has made his living for years by speaking in front of groups, I tend to be very aware of it. Someone who speaks well is a pleasure to listen to. Someone who doesn't is pretty painful.

The best advice that I ever got was to smile. For me, this isn't difficult, because I really do like showing off the software. When I say, "hey, this is really cool", I mean it! I also respond to questions, many times letting questions drive the direction of my demonstrations. Although I have a fixed set of things to cover in a particular class or session, the order can be changed based on what my students want. So please, ask me a question. I will answer it right away. I know how irritating it can be to hear "we'll get to that later." Personally, I'd like to get to that now, and most people do.

I've read that some people fear public speaking more than death. It's really not that bad. This is what you can do - find something you know about and want to share, be specific, answer questions - and smile!

By the way, yep, that's me in the picture. I think I was trying to smile.

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