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5 Ways to Become a Better Speaker

By 05/30/2009January 26th, 201718 Comments

Okay here it is, the play by play of my wonderful trip to Calgary as the Keynote Speaker for the House of Persian Rugs, Designer Event.  Here I am at the airport in Vancouver, another gorgeous day (we’ve had a lot lately, and that is rare in May!).

I sat beside Carley on the plane.  A lovely woman travelling to Saskatoon.  She looked so fabulous in her green suit, matching Coach purse, and 4” heels that I thought, please God let me look that beautiful when I’m 72 years old!! Which brings me to Tip #1 – Look the part (see my colourful outfit below :)!

Amir was the MC of this evenings event, and he was waiting for me when I arrived–okay in actual fact my plane was early and he was 5 minutes late, but I made him pose for the photo holding the paper with my name on it anyways—he was such a good sport!

Amir and Emad (the owner’s son) dropped me at my hotel and picked me up one hour later for lunch, they treated me so great, opening doors for me and everything—hey the small things thrill me!  As I mentioned in yesterdays post, I stayed at the Hotel Arts.

It was a wonderful, contemporary room.  The headboard wall was covered in 12” x 12” mirrored tiles and dressed with a sheer chocolate brown drapery treatment, very chic!

I had to take a photo inside the elevator of the  Cole & Sons Woods wallpaper.

Look at this shovel with a branch growing out of it!  There it was hanging on the wall and I’ve never seen anything like it, so I thought I’d share it with you!

The lobby and the hallways of the meeting space wrapped around the pool–silly me didn’t take them up on their original offer to arrive the day before so I just looked longingly at it!

Here’s the lobby, you can see the pool through the window.

Here I am in the egg chair!

They took me to a fabulous French restaurant called La Chaumiere where we sat outside in their lovely patio.

Amir & Emad (above) both ordered the same salad and it was so pretty, I took a picture!

After lunch we went to the Lougheed House, which is where it was being held to get set up and make sure my laptop had all the right attachments.  This grand sandstone prairie mansion was built in 1891 and enlarged in 1907; the impressive scale and the high quality of the design, materials and interior furnishings of the house reflected the wealth and prestige of the Lougheeds (Senator James Alexander Lougheed, Lady Isabella Hardisty Lougheed, their six children and staff). 

Tip #2 – If you have a MAC (bring the right cable to connect to the projecter) in addition to a remote!

You can tell we were in oil country!  Some office buildings I snapped while walking around the grounds of the estate. Next stop was the House of Persian Rugs actual showroom where I was given the best PK (product knowledge session) by Abbas Keshmiri (the owner) of Persian rugs I’ve ever had!  They often have designers fly up with their clients from Vancouver and Edmonton because they have the largest selection of  Persian Rugs in Canada!
Wanna know what a $100,000 Persian rug looks like?  Here is one of them.  They keep them in a safe and pulled out two for me to see.  They are 100% silk and apparently silk lasts forever (which I didn’t know) while a wool rug lasts approximately 100 years.
The evening consisted of authentic Persian music. . .
and Persian cuisine. . . the food was so delicious!

Here I am (below; in my favourite colours) with Abbas Keshmiri of the House of Persian Rugs.
Tip #3 – Give the people that hired you, permission to let you know (by sending a note) if anything is missing during the presentation. For example, they have had many clients arrive looking for very specific colours that are impossible to find (unless they commission a custom carpet) because everything has been selected EXCEPT the Persian Rugs!  This is very frustrating for everyone!
This should have been one of the most important points of my talk.

The first part of the evening was my presentation and the second part was centered around the beautiful rugs showcased in the reception area where I talked about which colours I would use with each individual area rug.

Carol Ann from Camdesign Interiors (on the right, below) has been following my blog for a few months now and she was so excited when she heard I was coming to Calgary.  Carol Ann and her colleague Linda were my friendly faces in the crowd – they were so welcoming and I so enjoyed meeting them!
Tip #4 – Mingle before the presentation (if possible) and ask the attendees what they would like to get out of the evening.  It’s a great way to feel like you already have some friends in the crowd (Thanks Carol Ann 🙂 and gives you an opportunity to address them in your talk before the question period!
Here I am flying over the Rockies on the way home!

All images by Maria Killam

It was one of the best days I’ve ever had, although afterwards, of course I was just aware of the mistakes I’d made during the talk and how it could have been even better. 

Tip #5  – One big lesson I learned was;  never have the screen beside you when speaking—I had to lean around to see where I was when I would finish making a point so my transition from one slide to the next wasn’t always very smooth! 

That’s how we learn though (as I’ve mentioned in a previous post)!  And I look forward to doing it again very soon!

Related posts:
Happiness is. . . Being Uncomfortable
A light colour will never come to life in a dark room
The right way to create flow using colour (Washington Post Blog Watch)
Insider Secrets to Testing & Selecting Paint Colours
Colour is Context

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  • DesignTies says:

    Thanks for the play-by-play of your trip to Calgary 🙂

    That mirrored headboard wall in the hotel room is fabulous!! Too bad I’ve run out of bedrooms to decorate in our house 😉

    I’m sure your presentation was just as interesting and informative as your blog posts 🙂 And as you said, it was a great learning experience for you 🙂

    Have a great weekend!!


  • Carol Ann says:

    Wow that was a great post, Linda and I had a great time that evening, we are still on cloud 9…the Lougheed House was a great place to have it, the food was fab, learning about beginnings of The House of Persian Rugs was very interesting, Amir was so cute…
    Your talk on color was so wonderful! In our office we are using alot of what you talked about aready…invaluable information, I am so glad they had you come and talk to us…I hope all the Calgary designers and stagers appreciated you as much as we did, they can be a tough crowd…
    We really enjoyed when you interacted with the rugs and showed us the different colors to use and not to use…that was great…you could see the color come out of those wonderful rugs…
    Thank you again, Maria…you and your blog are wonderful.
    Regards, Carol Ann

  • sallymandy says:

    Hi Maria, this was a lovely and very enjoyable post. I just love it when you post photos of somewhere you went. It’s like a mini travelog, and to imagine a blog friend in those places is really fun. Lovely pictures of you, too.

    I bet they loved your talk.

    xo, sallymandy

  • Red River Interiors: says:

    love this post… you are so inspiring….i love coming back for more…if you were in the US i would love to attend your color seminars…Fay

  • Cote de Texas says:

    great tips. but you forgot to give us tips on how to look as CUTE as you do!!!!!!! wow!!! adorable. 🙂

  • Slices of Beauty... says:

    Wow really beautiful. Love the egg chair and your outfit!

  • Linda/"Mom" says:

    * What a g888 read, Maria!!! ~ “Short, sweet, informative, fun and well written”! Just delightful!!!

    Looks and sounds like a terriffic experience for all!!! (Would have LOVED to have been able to hear it myself, ESPECIALLY while attempting a special new project myself, and knowing color n’ texture are SO important when working w/ a neutral base)!!!

    And you’re just the CUTEST thing!

    MANY THANKS for sharing this Saturday morning!

    Linda in AZ *

  • VictoriaArt says:

    Dear Maria, what a great time you’ve had! You look so fabulous in your outfit, just pop right out in front of those carpets!
    Love all your observations!

    Enjoy your weekend!
    🙂 Victoria

  • Rebecca Sherman says:

    this was a wonderful post — someone said in an earlier comment, like a mini travelogue. I felt like I was there. Will you tell us what some of the tips were you gave on choosing colors for the rugs?

  • Hill Country House Girl says:

    So glad the trip went well for you. You looked great in your orange and yellow! I love your positive attitude about learning from your experiences. Thanks so much for sharing your trip with us!

  • Brillante Home Decor says:

    Beautiful experience for you and great for us to be able to virtually participate in it.
    (You should show your legs more often!)

  • Awesome Sara says:

    how dashing you look!!!! ooo emad is hot!!!! you’re hot now and you will just get hotter when your 72!

  • Lisa says:

    Well now i feel like i’ve been on a nice little weekend get-a-way with the fabulous and oh so smart Maria Killam.
    Now i have a question…is Emad going to personally deliver your rug? He…i mean the rugs are gorgeous!
    Thanks for the presentation tips. You are always thinking ahead for the next trip…i love that.

  • Michelle says:

    Wow, that hotel looks great!! Nice digs 🙂 Do they have a showroom in Vancouver as well?

  • DesignTies says:

    I read ever word of this post Maria, and loved what you shared… the pics, the advice, the experience… everything!
    Victoria @ DesignTies

  • Lauren says:

    Sounds like a great time!!! Glad you had fun & congrats again!!! xoxo

  • pve design says:

    You look like a ray of golden sun!

  • Bethany says:

    I am sure you were so great! AND that there will be many more speaking engagements in the future.

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