Speak About Your Work
We get to talk about one of the scariest things that anybody will ever have to do, which is speaking about your work. I know how challenging this is. I have a lot of sympathy for anybody who is afraid of this topic, because it's something that I also have a ton of anxiety about, but hopefully, I can walk you through how I have overcome that anxiety, because I have, tremendously. Speaking about your work does not necessarily mean public speaking, so I'm not trying to prepare you to get up on a stage and speak in front of a thousand people or anything like that, or even ten people, 'cause that's just as scary. But what I do want you to be able to do is to speak about your work in an intelligent and communicable way that will enhance your brand, that will market your images better, that will market your persona better, because, as we know, we just recently talked about writing, and when we talk about writing for your work, that's one whole thing, right? Just a way of getting your brand ou...
t there, of accentuating what you have to offer. Speaking about your work is the same. It's another way of putting yourself out there in a different medium in way that might attract more people to what you're doing, and that's why it's so important. I mean, you'll notice on social media that all of these social sites are moving in the direction of video. I remember the first time I put a video on Facebook, and I was shocked at how many people saw it compared to a regular photo post that I would make, and I realized, well, they're probably promoting video, because that's what everyone's promoting right now, is video, video, video. Instagram is obviously really big into promoting video, with their stories and things like that, and it's just the way that people are sharing now, so we have to talk about it, because if we're going to get our work out there, and if we're going to speak about it intelligently, we have to learn how to do that. Now, I don't mean to intimidate you too much, but I do mean to intimidate you slightly, 'cause this is a hard thing to do, and I know that. So, I used to be extremely shy, grossly shy. I would not talk to strangers, let alone pitch myself to them, let alone be able to talk about what I was doing. And we did do elevator pitching, which was fun, but not quite as in-depth as we're gonna go right now. Speaking about your work might be in peron or it might be on video, and we're going to focus a lot on video, because that's the trend that things are going in, but everything from being able to go to a job interview and present yourself well, to talking to people in a room about your work, to making a video about it, so important. So, that's what we're going to do. We also have a guide for download with this one, which goes in detail with questions that will help, hopefully, everybody just in terms of being able to market yourself, visually and through your words. So, hopefully, you're going to find that really helpful, and help you to just sort of hone in on the type of content that you should be producing, and the words that should be coming out of your mouth. Okay. So, here are ways to speak about your work. Different things that you'll need to keep in mind, we've got elevator pitching, which we already did, okay? Gallery meetings, which will happen if you're on that fine art path. We've got portfolio reviews. Now, this is a big one, portfolio reviews, which I'm a big fan of, and we're gonna talk about that in a second, so we've got portfolio reviews, portfolio reviews where you sit down with somebody who's going to review your work, and then, you're going to have to speak about it. So important in this situation. This is like the artist's job interview, basically, and it's importan to get right, so we'll talk about that. Giving a lecture, a Q & A, an artist talk. I mean, if we're all so fortunate, we will be invited to give artist talks, to speak about our work, you have to know how to do it. Negotiating and hiring, just another way that you would want to be able to speak about your work and this goes back to knowing your worth. If you're going to enter into a deal with a client, it's so important that you know your worth and you can communicate that to the person that you're dealing with, and then social media and video, which I mentioned. So, here's just more in-depth about these things. An elevator pitch would be a random chance meeting. A gallery meeting, you're gonna wanna be able to talk about your prices, editions, sizes, and things like that. For a portfolio review, you wanna talk about your concept and technique. That's gonna be most closely related to your artist's statement. We've got a lecture, a Q & A, an artist talk, and that's where you're going to want to have opinions formed about what you're doing, what your work is like, and your motivations, because, if you think about it, we've got all these different ways of speaking, but the motivation behind what you do is relevant in every single one of these, negotiations and hiring, things like that. We've got pricing, methods of creating, contract terms, things that you need to be able to speak about, and then social media, where I think it's good to focus on your uniqueness, or it's good to focus on what makes your process interesting, and things like that. Here are some pitfalls in public speaking, and these pitfalls, I do not blame anyone for. I have the same ones, and I'm going to hopefully just talk you through a little bit of how we're going to overcome that. So, do any of you guys have any anxiety about public speaking? Okay. And I have a good feeling that you represent, also, the larger community who might be watching, and I also feel the same. I mean, there are many different events that I do where my armpits start to sweat, and I get really nervous and anxious. I remember I did this one lecture, and it was in front of a few thousand people, and I was really nervous, and it wasn't recent, it was sort of more in the beginning of my career, and I was shaking nervous, and I was about to go on stage, and they go, "It's so exciting! "Did you know that 85,000 people "are livestreaming this right now?" I was like, "Oh, wow. "That might be the worst thing "anyone's ever done to me in my whole life," and then I was way extra nervous, and I realized after that experience that I need to find ways to calm myself and to be okay with this, and there are ways that I've done that, and I'm gonna talk about them. So, this is what people struggle with, is confidence, to be able to speak about your work. We often get up on stage, I do the same thing, and we say, "So," and, "um," and try to fill the gaps with anxious words, something to really keep in mind, but I do it constantly, and it's hard not to. It's really hard to get those extraneous words out of your dictionary. Inflection is another one that people struggle with. It's really frequent that I see people getting up on stage, and they'll keep one tone as they talk, they don't have a lof of excitement in their voice, it becomes very monotonous to listen to this type of voice inflection. I'm not trying to put you to sleep, but you're looking rather sleepy. Okay. Having concise thoughts. It's really hard. Have you ever been to a lecture where you feel like somebody's rambling a little bit? Where you're just like, "Okay, get to the point, "get to the point, I wanna know what you're trying to say." All the time, we see this. I am definitely guilty of this. My problem is actually mostly with stories. I tend to tell stories all the time, and then I forget that we're trying to have a point that's being made. So, stories are another thing that can help you tremendously when it comes to public speaking, or you can get lost in them, and we'll talk about that. Eye contact, so I'm trying to make eye contact with all of you guys, I could look straight in the camera and talk to the camera as we do this, so it's good to know where you're supposed to be looking and being able to maintain that eye contact, because obviously, I want to engage with you guys, but I also don't want you to fall asleep, so I'm gonna keep looking at you, so then you'll know that you'll be in trouble if you do, okay? All right, and then, being relatable. This is another thing where I've been to a lot of artist lectures, and there are times when the ideas and the work is just so abstract, and it's never brought down to my level, so I feel, where I'm just like, "I cannot connect with this, "because this is so heavy and intellectual "that I just don't know what the point is. "I'm not understanding," so making things relatable when you're speaking about your work. Now, how do we solve these pitfalls? One way is to realize that nobody cares as much as we fear that they do, nobody. We care way more than anybody else cares. It is a well-known fact. You know, if I stood up here, and I tripped, fell on my face, got up, and couldn't remember what I was trying to say, trust me, I'm going to carry that with me a lot longer than you are. You're not gonna lose sleep over it tonight, I am. You're not gonna remember that ten years from now, except as something silly that happened, I am, and I'm going to start sweating, and I'm gonna remember what it felt like to be in that position. Nobody cares, okay? People want to hear what you have to say. People really do want to hear what you have to say. The problem is not that they don't wanna hear you. The problem is that they wanna hear you be interesting, okay? So, it's not the content, it's not the sentiments, it's the way that you present it, more often than not, that isn't interesting for people, and that is fixable. Everything is fixable, the content, everything, but especially how we present ourselves. Learning how you like to present best is also a really important thing. You know, maybe your style is never going to be to stand up and give a speech to somebody, or to a room. Maybe you love Q & A's, though. Like, you love being interviewed, and that's how you communicate your vision best. Know that ahead of time, so that you can create scenarios where you're going to shine when you're speaking about your work. Not everyone can do everything most of the time. Some people can, they're amazing, but not everyone. Having talking points laid out, so important. I could not get through a single video or lecture or anything without having talking points. I don't have the memory for it, I'm not an actress, I have to have bullet points in my head, so that's really important, we're gonna talk about that. Focus on one main theme. That's another thing that's a real pitfall for people when they're speaking about their work, or about their life, or anything, is that it's so all over the place, and it never really gets tied back to one main central point, so have a theme. Write down audience takeaways. It's important to consider your audience, and if I'm going to give a lecture, if I'm going to give a class, for goodness's sake, I'm gonna make sure that I know what you're going to take away from my words that I am spitting at you. Literally, I keep spitting, I don't know why. I need to know, and if you walk away not knowing, that's bad, right? Like, maybe I could fudge my way through it, but if you walk away like, "I'm not sure what I was supposed to be learning from that," that's not good. Okay, cater to your favorite format, as I mentioned. If you wanna show yourself in action, show yourself in action. If you wanna show yourself standing still, talking to a room, do that. Interview style, go for it. You have the power to do whatever you need to do to get your words out there. And then, finally, learn what's editable. So, if you're making a video, learn what you can do in that video that you can take away, and learn what you can't. I did a video recently where I did not expect to be on camera. I thought it would just be a voiceover, and then I ended not having enough content to fill that video, so I had to put myself speaking in it, and I was still in my pajamas, I looked ridiculous, and I had to do it, because there was nothing else to be done. I'll explain that later, 'cause I'm gonna show you the video in which I look like I just rolled out of bed wearing my pajamas. You'll see! (sighing) I'll explain the circumstances, but learn what's editable. So, no one cares as much as we fear. Just going over these one more time. I really, genuinely believe that we are our own worst critics, that people won't remember, it just doesn't matter, so always remember that. Someone wants to hear what you have to say. If you don't believe me, just know that you're wrong. Okay, great. Covered that point thoroughly. No, I really do believe that someone wants to hear what you have to say. I think that we all have very interesting pieces of ourselves that we could put out there, so it's a matter of marrying the content that you choose, the most interesting content, with delivering that in an interesting way, which is really hard. Learn how you like to present best, for example, there was a long time when I had a really difficult time speaking to a small group of people. I became very comfortable speaking in front of very large audiences, and I became way more comfortable with that, because there was more likely to be somebody in that audience that would connect with what I was saying than a small audience. I just started becoming really scared of small rooms, like this! Now I'm not, and the way that I got over that is to remind myself that it doesn't really matter. It just doesn't matter. I'm gonna say what I have to say in the most genuine way possible, and if you guys don't like it, then it's not the end of the world. You know, I tried my best, and that's it, that's all I can do. Talking points, we're gonna go over talking points in more detail, because this is extremely important with public speaking. Focusing on a main theme. If you have that one thing that everything falls under, you'll have a really nicely structured talk, very likely. Takeaways for your audience, another thing that we're gonna go over, and then catering to your favorite format. So, how would you like to work? What way do you wanna be showcased? And then, what is easily editable in post, and this is things like, if you accidentally stumble over your word, you know that you can probably edit that out later. If you wear your pajamas, you probably can't edit that out.