Public Speaking?!? - AN ARTSY JOURNEY #30
I wanted to tackle Chicago, the heart of America, the third largest city in the United States, and eight hundred and thirty-three miles closer to my Michigan goal. Presenting and delivering art into the Windy City would be an easy drive when I moved back to my home state. I had to get to Chicago.
But, like the New York wholesale art show at Jacob Javits, it was expensive. I scoured the application form. Then I saw it. One of the convention education classes was a five-panel open forum on “How to Write a Business Plan.” They were seeking guests to fill the panel. And the position paid! The money was minimal, but it was income, enough to cover a night of lodging.
Darting to the library as the doors opened, I headed for the subject card catalog, and flipped through the index cards under business plan. Shortly I headed for the 658.4 stacks. With my arms loaded with books, I lugged them to a nearby table and began a crash course on learning about business plans, and more importantly, how to write one.
I discovered a business plan was simply a guide, like a roadmap, that outlined and detailed how you planned to get where you wanted to go. Researching further, I learned writing a business plan called for three steps:
-Identify your strengths.
-Assess buyers’ needs.
-Find a niche, then re-evalute and repeat process.
After researching business plans until library closing hours, I went back to my basement apartment and pecked out a detailed outline on the typewriter to the PPFA – Professional Picture Framers Association – was the sponsored association hosting the wholesale art event at McCormick Convention Center in downtown Chicago near the Merchandise Mart In the early 1990’s, PPFA was the leader in the industry for art education and trade shows for galleries and frame shops. It was the pinnacle of times for custom framing with 28,000 small business shops in America, compared to the now 8,000.
Getting a spot on the PPFA guest panel would not only pay part of my lodging, I would meet and greet with some key players in the industry. Networking was a tool I needed to implement according to my resent business plan research.
After adding my credentials to the business plan outline, I mailed the letter. I had a flutter in my chest thinking about public speaking. I hadn’t presented a speech since high school.
As part of my high school curriculum, I had to give a “persuasive” speech. I grew up with Mom whispering tales of her falling-in-love relationship with my dad. Being seventeen with hormones lusting on a high school sweetheart and marriage, like my mom did, I selected a topic dear to my heart: "Wedding registry.”
Sadly, my bumpy road with relationships had proved I wasn’t the same mind-set as Mom. Now I was working at trying to improve my methods of communication or lack of such skills from my earlier years. I hoped public speaking about business plans would prove to be an easier lesson to learn than communication skills and romance.
Since I had aced the public speaking part of high school, I focused on that success. I convinced myself I could hold my own on the panel. I figured talking to a room of five hundred picture framers had to be easier than living alone and being a thousand miles away from my family.
I was about to find out.