Feb 18, 2016

Preparing to Present or 8 Steps to Success- Art & Marketing Tips


I know this article isn't for you! - You are an artist, not a presenter. 

You work hard on your art, you are no expert, And maybe you didn't go to Art School. 
But the day will come when someone will say to you

"Wow! That is really neat what you are doing, how did you do it?"

Teaching can sneak up on you like that or can be a direction you want to go. Either way preparation beforehand can make it or break it.

Wendy - Demo - Using Technology to Present Your Art Work

There are huge payoffs for you if you do head down that road. 
-    You meet lots of new and interesting people, both artists and art lovers
-    You learn so much, teaching someone else to do something is a great way to really learn it yourself
-    Your confidence in your work will grow and will be reflected in your work
-    Your network will grow
-    You will have another income stream from your art

But Success means Preparation.

Here are my 8 Steps to Success:

1.     Brainstorm - When I have a topic I begin making notes of things I want to say.  No order, just thoughts.  Writers call it a free flow of ideas.  I jot things down wherever I am.  3 am in the morning is often an "Aha Moment".  I keep paper and pencil by the bed so I can jot a thought and go back to sleep.  (Sometimes those scribbles are hard to read as I never turn the light on. But even a word or two will bring the idea back and I can flesh it out from there.) Think about not only the points you want to cover but activities for your group to do to practise it.  A sit and listen talk will not teach as much as an interactive one. 

My brainstorm notes are in many forms - Demo Preparation for 'Using Technology to Present Your Art'

2. Organize and Prioritize - After a day or two I will sit down with my scribbles and pick the ones I like and begin to put things  in an order.  If you are demoing a particular technique, that will be your focus.  Often I am presenting Business and Marketing skills which are broad topics.  Keeping things simple and not overwhelming is a harder task. For my Technology Presentation I decided to organize technology around the 3 main tasks of Marketing Your Art: Publicity, Networking and Point of Sale. Once I had a structure things really fell into place.

3. Prepare An Outline - Seems like the same as organizing but it is different.  You will not be able to read off your paper. You need to face your group and talk.  A quick peek at your notes is all you get.  There isn't time to read a paragraph, only a few words.  Impossible you might think but remember, you are talking about what you know, not some foreign topic that you just spent a few days researching.  (Those horrible school presentation memories will try and beat you down.  Let them go, this is your topic, something you know and do all the time with your art. A few words will remind you what you want to say).
 If there is a particular quote, reference or note I want to make, I will read it out if I have to.  But it will be short and then I am back to 'speaking live'.

Hands on Activities are Important - This is from my demo "Working with Multiple Reference Photos" 

4. Organize Your Materials - Once your outline is ready, getting materials together is easier.  You know where you are going. I first sit with my paper and visualize my presentation:  from set up to take down.  This really helps in figuring out what you need. Beware: the tendency here is to panic and bring too much.  Relax, it happens to everyone. The fear of not having enough, that 'dead space' is with every presenter. Pack what you need, bring an extra activity/note to keep you comfortable and confident.  

5. Practice - I mean really practice. Go into a room, take your notes and talk out loud.  Say what you plan on saying.  Hearing your voice gives a better feeling for how you will be 'thinking on your feet' when you presenting.  Just reading over you notes and 'thinking through your presentation' is not the same. Jot a note, an example or point you feel you will need as a reminder on  your outline. (I often use different colour pens so I am alerted to that extra point)

6. Packing - Take some time here.  As you are packing you are again visualizing the presentation and activities and it is an opportunity to add things you had forgotten.  Keep it manageable.  Try and condense it to one or two trips from the car,  that you can manage alone.  Who knows where the parking will be or how much help you will have.  I find there is lots of help to pack up but no one is there when I arrive. 
For a 3 hour demo, one load should do it. My favourite item: my dolly

7.  A Press Kit - Easy to forget.  Your focus is on making a good Presentation but this is also a networking/marketing activity.  Have a press kit ready:  a bio/statement page, information on your next events, sign up sheet for your newsletter, and business cards or flyers for each person. 
Sample Press Kit and Work Samples - yes have prices on everything. 

8. Samples of Your Work - You are an artist, that's why you are there. Your workshop participants want to see 'what you do'.  Take one or two originals, if possible and some cards,  prints or a book showing some of your other work. That 'dead space' you were worried about can be filled talking about your work and where you are going.

9. Relax and enjoy yourself - Take deep breaths, don't rush. You know your stuff, you do it all the time. 

Special Note: There is only 1 spots left in my all day Marketing Workshops running this month. Sunday, Feb 21 - FULL, Sunday, Feb. 28 - 1 Spots left.  This workshop is only offered in February each year.  More information

 If you can't make the workshop there are other alternatives, I offer 1-to-1 Marketing Sessions focusing on topics of your choice and I am also happy to present to Art Groups on particular topics related to Marketing Your Art.

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Have a great artful day, Wendy


Brenda Hill CDM said...

Good advice Wendy

Wendy Mould AFCA said...

Well with all those demos in one week I really had to be efficient with my process. I learned a lot at the same time.

Sea Dean said...

All good advice. Even if you're a seasoned pro it's easy to forget something. When I was on the road doing non stop presentations I had lists for everything. A packing list for my personal items. A packing list for the items needed to present. A check list for things when I arrived at the location. etc. I find one of the things people forget most is either chargers, adapters or connection leads and lights.

Wendy Mould AFCA said...

So true. One of my presentations I forgot my watch. A real nuisance when you are trying to pace yourself. However, you only forget that important thing once, then you remember it forever after that!