October 19, 2006

Thank you, CAMFT

Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking to the Santa Barbara chapter of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT). One of my clients is a board member of the group and arranged the presentation for their monthly lunch meeting.

The room was a bit of a challenge. The meeting took place in the back (really "side") room of a popular downtown restaurant. It's a long, narrow room, so if you stand at one of the ends (and the room is full), you're really far away from the people in the back. But if you stand alongside the group, you're inches away from the audience. Which works for me, but does it work for them?

There was a loud humming sound coming from some equipment in the back (very close to the kitchen), and the lighting was dim. We had to close the curtain on the front window because the building across the street reflects a bright white glare into the room.

Because I had visited the venue in the week prior to the presentation (preparation, preparation!), I was ready for all of these issues, and was able to work with the limitations of the room.

Aside from the room challenge, everything else was perfect. The lunch was lovely, although I didn't eat until the end of the presentation and meeting (a couple of CAMFT members were very sweet and sat and chatted with me while I ate).

The audience was responsive to my questions and activities, which is not always the case. And they were very warm, friendly and welcoming. Really, what more could a speaker want?

Plus, two of my educational heroes were at the meeting! One of my grad school professors, Dr. Judith Brown was there, a well-known figure in the field of Gestalt Therapy along with her husband, Dr. George Brown, who was one of the co-founders of the Confluent Education field (the field in which I received my Master's degree). Now how's that for a run-on sentence?

And next to Judith sat Dr. Violet Oaklander, internationally acclaimed and pioneering child and adolescent psychotherapist, trainer, and author of "Windows to Our Children," her influential book. I had never met Violet in person, and it was quite an honor to finally do so!

Judith's and Violet's work greatly influenced mine over the years I spent in social services, so it was really a pleasure to see them and be reminded of where I've come from.

A really nice result of the presentation was all of the newsletter signups I received. Great day, great group, great fun. What public speaking should be all about!

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