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Friday, May 11, 2012

Public speaking when everything possible goes wrong


I recently had this exact experience. 

Am I exaggerating? Perhaps.  You be the judge.

My speaking engagement was on Tuesday. I developed a cough on Sunday.

 I left work early so I could run home, get changed and pick up my presentation materials. When I got home, I realized my daughter had locked me out of the house. (This was after trying every entrance in the pouring rain.) The only person with a key (my wife) was at work over an hour away.  To be on time for the appointment, I had to leave in twenty minutes.

I got in my car and made a decision...despite my soaked clothes, no presentation materials and feeling under the weather, I would drive to the library and do my best with what I had. Rarely do things go according to plan and I wasn't going to let a little something like no presentation materials, wet clothes and a cold keep me from sticking to my commitment.

I drove the hour-long trip to the library managing to get dried off on the way as well as putting myself in a better mood. I arrived early, saw the strangest thing...two horses tethered to a pole in the middle of a row of cars in a crowded parking lot.  By the time parked, got out of my car and made my way to where I saw the horses, they were gone...only a pile of...well, you get the idea, left in their place.  Having fully intended on snapping a photo of this anomaly, I was slightly disheartened but wasn't going to let the loss of a funny photo dampen my spirit.

I went inside, introduced myself, was greeted by a cheerful woman who gave me a quick tour of the library and showed me where to set up.  Setting up comprised of picking a spot at one of the three tables in the YA section and opening my laptop.

And then, the kicker...just before I was going to begin a man walks up and introduces himself.  "Hello," he said, "Greg Cox,"and extended a hand.
Bestselling author Greg Cox? Greg Cox whose list of published works stretches longer than the editorial correction list for my latest book?

Now, I do have a history with Greg, we've spoken previously -he even read my manuscript for Exiled, but we'd never met in person.  He said he'd been in the library and saw the flyer announcing my visit and decided to stop in and say hello.

So now I'm supposed to begin speaking about my book, about writing and publishing and everything in between while sitting next to me is an industry veteran.  No pressure, right?

Well, since I wasn't following my original plan anyway, I had no choice but to roll with it.  The audience was small (countable on one hand ha ha) and it quickly became more of a conversation than a presentation, which, considering everything, I believe was was the right way to go.  The only down side for the attendees may have been having two authors trying to impart their wisdom, which I imagine was a bit overwhelming.

All in all, considering everything that happened, I notch this one up as a win.

Josh: 1
The world: 0

As always, find interviews, writing samples, videos, contests and more on my re-vamped website.

In bookstores 6-5-2012

1 comment:

  1. Thinking on the fly...awesome! And Monday night I will have had two weeks of practice and I will probably screw it up!