Public Speaking ( seminar)

Looking for some tips on doing a seminar. I have zero experience in public speaking, I do have a good background in what I will be talking about.

The seminar will be approx. 2 hours. I plan to spend the final 1 hour showing off examples of work we do at the various stages as well as the tools we use and some of the basic tecniques.

The audience will have no or very little knowledge of this particular subject so a big part of my job will be more of a presentation than demonstration.

I will be speaking for approx 1 hour. How much time do I spend talking about myself and my history? how much do I plug the company sponsoring this seminar?
After my introduction should I ask the group if they would like to identify themselves? I have no idea how many will show up, I suspect between 10 and 25.

The subject is making all wood bows and arrows, and I will be addressing a crowd of hobby wood workers.

Two hours is a lot of time if you are an inexperienced speaker. Most people’s attention span is much shorter than that. It is good that you will have show and tell items. Rather than save them all for the last hour, I’d encourage you to sprinkle them into the talk.

You are going to need to put a lot of thought into what will be exciting and engaging for your audience. Try to keep it light and fun. If you are comfortable with humor, work it into your talk, but don’t force it. I recommend spending no more than 30 seconds talking about yourself and your history unless you are a celebrity, or have been specifically asked to talk about yourself. I would spend zero time plugging the company unless you are obligated to do so, in which case I would keep it to a minimum.

Thanks JWT, would having a cheat sheet handy be acceptable? I feel like my main job here is to present the hobby to them in such a way as to give them some appreciation for all the possible aspects involved and how they might be attractive to them as a hobby.

I am not a celebrity but I have done a few discovery channel shows, I wrote a very well received chapter in a best selling archery series of books and I hold a couple of world records. I could give an adequate run down of myself in about 3 min. I know a lot of seminars I have attended the speakers will spend 15 or 20 min on themselves which I always thought was excessive.

That’s what Powerpoints are supposed to be, nothing wrong with bringing a cheat sheet. What’s wrong is trying to cram evey word you’re going to say into a cheat sheet or presentation - might as well give people handouts and cookies.

A couple of minutes presenting your cred is good, I agree that more would be too much.

Something I do when I’m presenting a subject about which the audience doesn’t know anything is leave space for “other stuff” and ask whether there’s any other specific aspects people would like to know about, right after I’ve shown the agenda. Recent example:

“Today we’re going to talk about Quality Control and Quality Management. I understand most of you come from Finance or Logistics, so I’m going to start with a conceptual part before doing a demo, and then we will see what kind of data needs to be prepared to be able to do what I showed - you will prepare enough data to do another demo with what YOU wrote. Are there any aspects of Quality you’d specifically like to know about, such as any processes you do which involve your company’s lab?”

While so far the questions I’ve gotten always were things I’d prepared, this avoids the kind of situation where people are so busy holding onto the question they want to ask that they stop paying attention, it gets people engaged and helps start a dialogue.

Be sure to give a break at some point also. Otherwise you’ll have people getting really really antsy, especially if any are smokers. And the more hands-on exercises or props, the better.

I am a big fan of having a hand outs for the audience. It helps them understand your goals and gives them something to look at of they get lost or bored.

With your background, you can probably reserve a fair amount of time for Q and A.

   Good sugestion, I am pretty comfortable once a dialoque is established and we get into questions and answers as well as demos. I feel like my passion for the craft will carry me at this stage.

Good point! The demo will be in a parking lot. Maybe i will try to cut the talk to about 15 min and get right into hands on demos.

 I am preparing a handout that includes some basic rules for bow building as well as web sites they can go to and suggested reading material.