Are you scared of public speaking? Do you dread the thought of a networking event - don’t we all?!
Networking is never anyone’s favourite thing to do (unless you’re Sandy Thomson). But at the end of the day, talking confidently about your work and what you stand for is so important in the creative industries. You may think that an image speaks a thousand words but in a swarm full of beautiful images it’s you and your personality that will make you stand out from the rest.
If you can talk about your work, you can write about your work, and vice versa. No one ever told me the importance of this whilst at art school, or they did and I didn’t listen, cause you know, all I wanted to do was make jewellery!
The dissertation made no sense to me, I got one of the worst grades, I was and still am bad at English… but I now understand the power of words. If someone had put that into context for me, I might have paid more attention rather than acting like a huffy jeweller. I also remember doing our designer talks in 3rd year and crying because of a fear of public speaking! It doesn’t come easy and that is why we bring in specialist Sandy Thomson to our INKubator Programme to rid you of those fears.
This is the one session that makes people nervous but it’s the one that will help you the most, as it is designed to make you feel more comfortable, not terrified. When I worked with Sandy back in 2009 during the Starter for 6 Programme, her session was the only one I didn’t cry at and the one that made me feel like I could totally boss this thing.
So let me introduce you to Sandy and help reduce those fears of public speaking.
Vanilla Ink: What is your name and what do you do?
VI: What part do you play in the INKubator Programme?
ST: I deliver a workshop on pitching, public speaking and networking for INKubator participants.
VI: We asked you to be involved in the Programme as we believe it’s so important to be able to be confident in your own making, your own words and presence, what should INKers expect from your session?
ST: They’ll walk away knowing how to talk with confidence about themselves and what they do - whether that’s in a formal presentation or competitive pitching set up or during social and networking events. They’ll learn how to choose the most relevant information about themselves, their practice and their business and how to take that information into all those situations in ways that feel natural and achievable to them.
VI: It’s the session that most people are intimidated by, why do you think that is and why should they not be scared?
ST: That doesn’t surprise me. Studies show that public speaking is one of the things the people would most like to avoid in their professional and personal lives. But the reality is we build it into something it’s not. We speak to people most days and we’re okay at it, we impart and learn the knowledge we need and we don’t freak out about it. So the skills people think they don’t have are almost always already in the room when we begin the session and it’s simply a case of being clear about them and learning to use them in situations that people find more intimidating.
VI: What one piece of advice would you give to someone developing their creative career?
ST: Ask for what you need. (And don’t panic is someone says ‘no’ when you do, ask another person).
VI: Do you have any tips for anyone thinking about taking part in the INKubator Programme?
ST: It will move you from one level to another. Be ready to put in the work and don’t be modest when you do - give yourself credit for the things you’ll achieve.
Quick fire round;
SketchBook or Computer?
Both. I plot films on a scatter of sticky notes and sketchbooks. I keep lists on computer.
Kindle or Book?
Both. All. Everything. Also real life comic or digital ones on iPad. Give me all the stories.
Super organised or last minute madness?
Both. I have to structure and I use it well, but I get bored if my life doesn’t include a healthy number of sessions where I’m winging it at 3am.
Tea or Coffee?
Shared workspace or work best on your own?
Both. I need peace to write a narrative but do admin much better with someone else around to make me feel ashamed about procrastinating.
PC or Mac?
Mac. (But I have an application that turns it into a black screen/green 8 bit text for story writing because I’m psychologically happier and more creative in 1986).
Inked or Clean?
Inked. Also glue gunned. And smelling of white spirit or paint. I started life as a prop maker and I’m only happy if my hands are messy.
Words to live your life by?
Ask forgiveness, not permission.
The INKubator Programme is a nine month part-time business development course based in our Vanilla Ink Jewellery School in Glasgow. We are looking for jewellers at any stage of their career who are looking to start, develop or grow their jewellery business. Applications are now open and closes midnight 29th of September. The programme begins in January with a residential to Vanilla Ink The Smiddy and the INKubator officially starts February 2020. Read our previous blog posts to hear from other Industry INKsperts and past Vanilla INKers.