Tomorrow – Tuesday, February 21, 2012 – I will be giving what’s called a “lightning talk” at an event called Ignite Asheville. The format is deceptively simple. Presenters – I’m one of eleven ten – are each given exactly five minutes to speak on a topic of their choosing (we submitted proposals and were chosen by a panel/committee). Not a second more or less than five minutes. To accompany our talk, we each bring a Powerpoint presentation of our own making. The Powerpoint must consists of twenty slides, each of which displays for exactly fifteen seconds. Not fourteen, not sixteen. So it’s all about pacing, pithiness and projection.
I have very little public speaking experience. Yes, I served as president of my kids’ public school PTO board for a number of years. And true, I was president of a nonprofit board. But in both cases the primary skill set I brought was the ability to run a meeting. It’s perhaps not in my best interest to compare myself to Benito Mussolini, but I’m the sort of guy who can, as the saying goes, make the trains run on time. Hopefully that skill will translate into a successful presentation on Tuesday. We’ll see.
My talk is entitled “Rock Songwriters on the Creative Process.” I’ll highlight some of the most quotable excepts from my personal archive of more than 130 interviews. I’m not going to give away the store here (well, not exactly), but if you’re interested in the source material for my talk, you might enjoy my interviews with Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Bill Wyman (The Rolling Stones), Howard Kaylan (The Turtles) and, well, more than 125 others. (And yes, I do talk to some, er, younger artists, several of whom will be represented in my presentation.)
The whole Ignite Asheville affair will be filmed (I had to sign a “talent waiver.” Does that mean I’m waiving the right to display any talent?) and put online afterward. But if you’re in or near Asheville NC, the event sounds like a fun evening. In addition to my talk, there will be people speaking on a wide array of topics. These include conflict resolution; alternative paths to education; and even a presentation by Laura Hope-Gill, the Poet Laureate of the Blue Ridge Mountains, entitled “What Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29 Can Teach Us About Life, Love, and Business.” Let’s just say that I’m glad Ignite Asheville is not a competition event.
Tickets are $10 ($5 for students). A few more details here.
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