Shannon Bennett, Student
The National Institute for Genealogical Studies course Lecturing Skills Including Preparation written by Thomas MacEntee caught my eye when I was at the FGS conference in Ft. Wayne, Indiana this past August. Speaking to genealogy friendly audiences is something that I have thought about from time to time. However, as a relatively new-comer to the genealogy world (and a person who tends to overplan before she jumps in), I was really unsure of how to get started as a speaker. Let alone what this community would like to see, hear, or expect.
In April 2013 I ventured, tentatively, into the world of genealogy speaking. I had a safe outlet: my local society. Plus, they really wanted to have more speakers for their meetings and were begging members to help. They knew I did that “social media thing” and asked if I could talk about how genealogists could use the various mediums available. I thought why not, what could hurt? The surprise for me was that it was so much fun! To say it fed my curiosity on the subject of speaking to larger groups and on more topics would be an understatement. I enthusiastically said yes when they asked me to do another topic. The big question that kept coming back to me was, how do I do this on a bigger scale?
I should point out that I have a little bit of prior public speaking experience in the field of education. In college, I was training to be a biology and chemistry teacher. One semester of my senior year I was an undergraduate teaching assistant. My discussion group, which I taught jointly with a graduate student, was 50 students taking the course Chemistry for Non-Majors. Talk about trial by fire. In addition to that, I have taught smaller classes and workshops on the topics of painting and embroidery, two of my hobbies.
So if I have experience speaking in public, why am I taking Lecturing Skills Including Preparation? My main fear is being in front of people. I know, very odd isn’t it, seeing how I am writing blog posts? Usually, once you get me talking, and I warm up a bit, it is hard to get me to be quiet again. Most people don’t realize that I do struggle with terrible stage fright (at times) and have since I was a child. I think that is where passion on the subject helps and is the only reason I am even considering trying to speak to larger groups and branch out into speaking within the genealogy community. I have the passion, so I think once I learn the ropes I will be fine.
By taking this course I hope to learn the following: