On Thursday evening I did my very first presentation to a group of twenty five ladies organized by the North West chartered accounts group in the Riverside Hotel in Sligo. It was their annual ladies night and for the ladies attending it was an opportunity for them to mingle with collegues from across Sligo, Mayo and Donegal and unwind and relax while enjoying a glass of bubbly or two! It was the perfect ladies night and I just loved how the room in the Riverside Hotel was decorated with pretty table décor, nice lighting and a goodie bag on arrival for each attendee. My friend Elaine Leydon of ElCreate had some of her pretty framed creations on each table and she very kindly dontated a voucher for the raffle ticket winner to get a custom designed piece made by her. Everyone was commenting on her work and admiring it, as was I. As well as all of that there was finger food, desserts and a nail bar at the back of the room where the ladies could get their nails done which I felt was a lovely touch to a girlie event.
I was Invited to give a talk on my blog, my art and to give the ladies fashion and styling tips. As I had mentioned on my Facebook page the morning before the event, I have been asked to give talks at events like this in the past and I always shyed away from it, saying no! I think I just didn’t feel I was ready to do something like that and felt shy about standing up in front of people. This time, I felt I was ready so I bit the bullet and said okay why not!!! I am so glad that I did because I really enjoyed it. I didn’t feel nervous and felt completely at ease. The women who attended the event were fantastic. Throughout my presentation they asked me questions and interacted with me, which took the edge off.
My presentation consisted of three sections. I started off by introducing myself and giving the ladies some background information as I was not sure if they were all familiar with who I was or what I did. I began talking about my artwork and showed them some images of my paintings. I spoke about my inspirations and the processes I go through in order to create my large scale paintings and what themes I develop and investigate. I also gave them a sneak peak into my daily sketchpad and discussed the new collection of work I am working on. I am always nervous about showing my sketches and artwork but they were all SO encouraging and supportive, I honestly was blown away by the feedback. During my talk they had a chance to ask as many questions as they wanted and thankfully their reactions and feedback were extremely positive and they were very interactive.
Next, I spoke about my blog and explained how it all started for me with my painting being displayed on the billboards in times square in New York and what lead me to setting up zaramcdaid.ie. If you missed the blog where I discussed this you can check it out HERE. I felt it was important to talk about why I do what I do, my passions, my interests etc. While discussing my blog I showed them my website, social media sites and showed images of some recent blogs I wrote where I featured jewellery designers, local artists, Irish designers and fashion looks I styled, as well as recommending any products or places that I reviewed. They seemed to really like this part, some were talking notes and asking me questions which was very encouraging.
Next, it was on to my other love, FASHION. I discussed COLOUR and the ‘on trend’ colours for SS’16. Thankfully this went down really well and they had some questions for me such as what colours I would recommend for blondes, brunettes, what should they wear to an interview etc. Last month I wrote a blog discussing what colours are popular for Spring/Summer 2016, so if you missed it you can read it HERE.
I followed this by discussing some of the FASHION TRENDS that are popular for SS’16 such as off the shoulder tops, florals, stripes, ruffles to name a few. I showed examples of each and we had a chat about which looks they liked or didn’t like. I really enjoyed this part. I suppose when you are talking about something that you are passionate about it really does come easy to you and is enjoyable.
Then to finish off my presentation I revisited the floral trend and showed them a fun, creative D.I.Y project that they could try. Being an artist and art teacher I will always encourage people to get creative and inventive. Obviously I didn’t want to be standing up in front of them cutting, making and sewing so I prepared this in advance and took photos of the process to show them on the screen. I brought my finished pieces with me and discussed ways I would style them. Stay tuned to my next blog where I show you how to create a fun, floral DIY project for Spring.
Overall my very first time presenting at a ladies event was a really fun and enjoyable experience. I learned a lot. Most of all I realised just how lovely, accepting and encouraging people can be. It was lovely to meet some of my readers and chat with them in person. At the end of my presentation some of the women stayed behind to ask me for some more fashion tips, to tell me that they loved my artwork or simply to offer kind words of encouragement about my blogging. I had absolutely no need to feel nervous! The next day, I felt great and was bursting with confidence!! There is no stopping me now!!! Before I finished up my presentation I ran a few ideas I had by the ladies and discussed my future plans for my blog as I wanted some feedback and they were telling me GO FOR IT! I am so pleased that I agreed to take part and I look forward to presenting at many more ladies events in the future. What I have discovered is that if there is something that you are scared or nervous about doing, I recommend you just GO FOR IT too. You might just find that is isn’t as scary as you thought after all!
A special thank you to the NW Chartered accountants for having me and to all of the lovely women who attended the event.