Getting them involved

by Carol

Oh I have some tales to tell about the times I was asked to speak in front of a group of people.

On almost all these occasions I had been invited to talk to lady's craft groups about needlework and how I got involved with it.

My secret weapon when planning my talk was mindmapping! Creating a diagram of the topics to include, with memory jogging pictures, meant I could just glance at one sheet of paper to remind myself what I wanted to cover next.

I remember one such evening when I had been asked to talk to a small group of 30 or so. I turned up about 10 minutes early and waited for someone to show. A minute before I was due to speak a caretaker turned up with the keys to the hall. He asked me if I was there for the cooking demo! Urm NO! Turns out they had double booked the hall.

Eventually someone came and found me and said "oh we must have forgotten to let you know. We are now meeting in the church."

She meant it too! Not the church hall, but the church itself! Oh and there were 80 people not 30. Not a good way to start something, which was already nerve-wracking for me.

Amazingly the talk went well, apart from an 80 year old lady sleeping all the way through.

Normally, I try to give my audience something to do. This can be a small workshop where they each have a go at a small embroidery project, or a quiz.

I used to design cross stitch charts for a British magazine and one of the commissions I was given was to design 30 motifs on the theme of "spring cleaning". I set my audience a quiz of trying to come up with as many ideas for motifs on that subject that they could think of. It kept them busy for some time, and it was hilarious when we went through the answers together. The charts that I used for my assignment, were also sent to the person who had suggested it as a freebie, which they loved.

Keeping them busy, in one way or another, meant they enjoyed the evening more, and I had to speak less. A win-win all round. :)

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