January, 2013 Monthly Meeting: Short Story Panel featuring Linda Boyden, Jim Dowling, Robb Lightfoot & Charlie Price

Thanks so much to panelists Linda Boyden, Jim Dowling, Robb Lightfoot and Charlie Price for sharing their insights on crafting short stories.

Pictured: Writers Forum Program Chair Sharon Owen, author Linda Boyden, author Jim Dowling and author Robb Lightfoot

Pictured: Writers Forum Program Chair Sharon Owen, author Linda Boyden, author Jim Dowling and author Robb Lightfoot.

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Author Charlie Price

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Author Robb Lightfoot

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Author Jim Dowling

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Author Linda Boyden

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We were delighted to have over 60 members and guests in attendance.

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Author Linda Boyden

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Author Robb Lightfoot

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Author Charlie Price

We look forward to seeing you at the Writers Forum buyout of Leading Ladies at Riverfront Playhouse on February 7th.  Tickets are $15 at the door and all proceeds go toward our Writers Forum Scholarship Fund.

If you’re unable to join us for a night of theater, we hope to see you at our February meeting!

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Speaking of Speaking by Jen Higley

Today membership coordinator Jen Higley give us a recap on the October meeting paired with a boost for December’s meeting.  Welcome, Jen.

With November’s Authors Fair taking the place of our general meeting, our next meeting is December’s read-around potluck.  That means speaking…in front of people.

Thus, October’s meeting was the perfect time for Writers Forum to welcome Shasta College speech instructor Robb Lightfoot.  In “Talking Up What You’ve Written Down,” Lightfoot presented information on speaking to inform or entertain, to persuade or engage, and even offered tips for impromptu conversations.  But the core advice given for nearly every speaking scenario is represented in The Gold Standard: combine preparation with a natural speaking style.  By keeping a speech conversational, you can keep your audience involved and have greater opportunity to fulfill your own speaking goals.  Lightfoot also recommends keeping organization simple and easy to follow, reminding us, “Listeners can’t scroll back.”

Whether your audience be friendly, neutral, hostile, or even uninterested, a tip to engage is to find out what interests them, and adapt your speech to fit your audience. Have a middle school crowd? Member Linda Boyden recommends you include “humor…and something gross!”

Leading by example, Lightfoot asked us our goals for public speaking.  When it became clear that overcoming speech anxiety was a high priority for this crowd, Lightfoot tailored his presentation to include many tips for remaining calm and organized.  He recommends using tools—notes, props, etc.—over memorization, as nerves can cause you to lose your place or repeat sections.  Good preparation before a speech can keep even a nerve-rattled brain more organized, and warming up your voice and practicing out loud will help you get in “the zone” to speak confidently and clearly. Focus on what you would like to accomplish (positives) over what you hope not to do (negatives).  Still a little nervous?  Before you head out, envision the crowd applauding and smiling, and you can even bring your own cheering section for added support.

Many thanks to Robb Lightfoot, who reminded us that everyone gets nervous sometimes, and shared a quote from Edward R. Murrow:

   “The only difference between the pros and the novices is that the pros have trained their butterflies to fly in formation.”

So breathe deeply, and let the butterfly show begin!

October, 2012 Monthly Meeting: Talking Up What You’ve Written Down with Robb Lightfoot

College speech instructor Robb Lightfoot shares his expertise on the entire process of promotion.

Tailored for writers, Lightfoot’s presentation will cover the traditional speaking situation with 30 or more people in the room, and he’ll also offer advice on how to handle smaller groups and even one-on-one encounters such as pitch sessions.  He will encourage the view of promotion as inviting people into a conversation about the writer’s work and will cover how to stay on top of technology and the effective use of websites and blogs to gain an audience.

His talk will incorporate some of the techniques he uses with his public speaking students such as practicing and overcoming fear.  Humor writing is Lightfoot’s newest project, and he will share the process of how he’s trying to build his readership with the Or So It Seems column he’s writing in anewscafe.com.

Lightfoot has a solid background in speech, journalism and multimedia.  He teaches college courses in speech, debate and oral interpretation.

*Monthly meetings are held on the second Saturday of the month from 10:30 am-12:30 pm in at All Saints Episcopal Church in the Memorial Hall.  Doors open at 10:00am and the meeting begins promptly at 10:30am.  All Saints Episcopal Church is located at 2150 Benton Drive, Redding, CA.  For more details about monthly featured programs and other Writers Forum events, please visit our Calendar Page.