Back by Popular Demand! Speaking In Front Of An Audience
Or, as too many people think of it, “Risking my Sanity In Front Of Hostile, Angry Strangers at Great Personal Expense.”
Writers— who love the safety of communicating on paper—will find themselves, ironically, having to present their work in front of an audience. Classes, workshops, open mics, book promotions, readings and festivals are valuable, and often unavoidable, ways for writers to interact, meet colleagues, promote their work, and receive feedback.
However, writer or not, too often, people let their fears override their confidence, and consequently miss out on the potential benefits of speaking before a group.
The most common advice is “practice,” but that’s only partly correct. What do you practice if you don’t know how to address the challenges? If you knew how to do something better wouldn’t you be doing it already?
The better advice is “prepare,” which approaches the task from another angle—developing confidence through concrete steps. It’s how you figure out what to practice.
This two-hour workshop will provide you with hands-on techniques. In an informal and low-stress environment, participants will answer questions and provide each other with feedback. The pace will move quickly, so there will be little chance to feel exposed, under scrutiny, or on-the-spot. Amy will provide phrases to use while practicing specific skills. Participants should bring a piece of their own work, to be prepared throughout the second half of the workshop, them read aloud. You’ll leave with a list of tangible tools and approaches to not just manage and minimize anxiety, but to develop technique and confidence.
Amy Alt is a writer living in Montreal, originally from the US. Her short-format stories and poetry aim for humor, frequently drawn from her experience in the arts and science worlds and a collection of unconventional jobs. As a professional dancer, choreographer, and teacher she logged many hours performing on stage and talking in front of rooms full of people. The skills she developed translated easily to other forms of public speaking, with an approach that comes from a different angle than traditional lecturing or storytelling. She has degrees from The Juilliard School and S.U.N.Y. Delhi. Her poem “Notice of Assessment” was recently longlisted in the 2019 CBC Poetry Prize.