At Intrinsic Lifestyle, I share examples of self-directed learners, including but not limited to myself. In this post, I’ll explain how my interest in documentary filmmaking led me to an unexpected arena, public speaking.
After I completed my film, “Steve Shirley Shark Tagger,” I started the process of self-distributing it by entering it into film festivals. I discovered that at most festivals it was standard practice for a Q&A with the filmmaker after their screening.
I figured if I was going to attend a festival, I better plan on taking part in the discussion with the audience; and that meant I’d better learn a little more about public speaking if I wanted it to go well.
My first public speaking ‘trainer’ was the San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival. There, I participated in a Q&A with students, as part of the school programming; as well as for the last night screening, for mostly adults.
Rather than bow out of doing it (it was optional), I began to try to develop my skill at public speaking. Here are a few resources which helped me to do that:
- I read “Seven Steps to Fearless Speaking,” by Lilyan Wilder and practiced her tips.
- I kept a worry stone in my hand to rub on to release nervous energy.
- I used an AP on my phone called: “Stop, Breathe & Think” to get into a more relaxed state-of-mind. That helped a lot.
Another activity for filmmakers, whose films were selected for the SFIOFF, required me to be articulate in front of strangers. It was a Live Google Hangout. To promote interest in the festival, we participated in an internet discussion, facilitated by Andrew Kornblatt of Online Ocean Symposium.
Although I was at home in my office, I knew that the program was being watched by whomever on the internet. I couldn’t see my audience and that was weird, and well, made me nervous. In preparation, I used an audio recorder on my iPhone and practiced my responses to the questions I’d been given in advance. I was asked to keep my answers short and sweet and I did that too well. In retrospect, I wish I would have elaborated more.
Basically, with each experience at public speaking, I became more confident and comfortable. By the sixth time at the SFIOFF, I was more relaxed than I’ve ever been in front of a group and I was actually enjoying giving responses. When I got a laugh from the audience, I knew I was on track because it proved we engaged.
In essence, I took it upon myself to learn more about it. I got through it. Now I’m less intimidated to do it again at the next festival. That’s the beauty of self-directed learning–taking matters into your own hands.
I’ve embedded the Online Ocean Symposium below. Because it was a live streaming, the quality of the footage isn’t great.