Giving A Successful Presentation To A Knitting or Craft Club

Many knitters, be they beginners or more experienced knitters, like to join knitting clubs or circles, where they can make new knitting friends, swap ideas, pick up hints and tips etc. There are clubs for those who hand knit and crochet, as well as for those, who like myself, machine knit. Sometimes these clubs have guest speakers who come along and share their experiences, give demonstrations and talk about their world of knitting.

The first time I was asked to do this, I simply refused. How could I stand in front of a room full of people and talk about myself? The idea filled me with dread. However, after a bit of gentle coaxing by a very persuasive knitting circle leader, I found myself having to prepare something that the group members might find interesting in some way.

I decided to speak about my experiences writing patterns for publication in magazines, as that is what my main forte is. As well as giving a talk, I took some examples of my knitwear with me to show the type of garments that were being commissioned at the time, which were quite complicated, with lots of pattern, shaping, and unusual techniques, many of which the audience were not familiar with.

Although I was like a nervous wreck on the day, I needn’t have been. It was a little daunting to address so many people at once, but when things got going, the time flew. I learned a lot from that first talk, and each one I did afterwards became easier than the last one.

If you have been asked to give a talk at a knitting group, women’s institute, or any other interest group about your knitting, or particular craft specialty, here are a few tips which can help you to make it hassle, and nerves, free. If you have never done a presentation before, and you, like I was, are scared to death by the prospect, reading through my ideas, will hopefully alleviate the stress and give you positive ways to present a good talk.

Make Notes – It is a good idea to have, at least, some sort of outline of what you want to talk about. If you keep to a plan and not go off at tangents, it’s obviously better for yourself as you can stay on track more easily, and much better for your audience, who will stay interested and not get confused by a lot of mixed up ramblings. Even sketchy notes, or bullet points will help rather than trying to rely on memory. If the nerves do just happen to kick in on the day, you will be thankful you wrote things down.

Take some of your knitting or craftwork – People like to look and touch things as well as sit and listen. Bringing physical items to show people, takes the emphasis off you alone, it stimulates conversation with your viewers and makes it more of an interaction between presenter and audience. It also encourages more questions from people, who may ask about techniques or other issues pertaining to your work. All this makes the talk more interesting for everyone, when people are questioning and chipping in with their own comments or ides.

Do you have anything to sell? – If you specialise in baby bonnets, take some. If you knit to order, don’t forget your business cards. Wear your own knitted or hand crafted garments. This is to promote sales. Whether your talk is paid, or unpaid, you might as well try to generate some extra money while you are there. Encourage people to pass your details on to other people too.

Q and A – Always have a ‘question and answer’ session at the end. This lengthens your talk and brings in lots of other interesting conversation by your audience. This is usually the part of a presentation where everyone, including yourself, are more relaxed and conversation, and sometimes laughter, can flow.

Finally, it’s easy to say try not to be nervous… that’s not really very helpful, because even the most seasoned speaker can get butterflies in the tummy on occasion. What is helpful, is to remember that your audience want you to be there. They have chosen you to come along and talk, so they are already interested in what you have to say. Your audience will be on your side. They share the same interests as you, otherwise they wouldn’t be there, so if you look at it in these terms, it is easier to feel confident about your upcoming talk.

The Past And Present Of Perfumery

The word perfume refers to a pleasant scent produced from a concoction of aromatic compounds, scented essential oils, solvents and fixatives. The term has been derived from “per fumus” which is a Latin word meaning ‘through smoke’. The art of perfume making or perfumery initiated in ancient Egypt; but the Arabs and the Romans were the ones who upgraded and refined the concept further. Perfumes were also used in Asia but were based on incense sources.

Many Egyptian inscriptions and clay tablets depict the process of preparing perfumes. But the world’s first perfume maker was Tapputi of Mesopotamia. There were accounts of this chemist on the 2nd millennium BC Cuneiform tablet. One of the oldest perfume making processes was discovered in Cyprus. Italian archaeological teams had excavated a massive factory that existed during the Bronze Age which is about 4000 years ago. Perfumery also existed in India and the main sources of fragrance were Attar, sandalwood oil and agarwood oil. In the west, European countries Hungary, France and England were the first to attempt composing scents.

Plants and herbs that were possibly used in early perfume making include Angelica, Scented Agrimony, Apple, Birch, Avens, Black Current, Calamint, Camomile, Fern, Mint,Fennel, Cyperus, Elder Flower, Feverfew, coriander, almond, Melilot Hawthorn, Clover, Broom, Hyssop, Lily of the valley, Conifer resin, Lavender, Bergamot, Rosemary, Sage, Oak Moss, Lemon Balm, Milfoil, Orris, Rose, Tansy, Violet, Rue and Jojoba. Modern perfumery began during the end of 17th century.

The longevity and intensity of a perfume depend upon the durability and concentration of the solvents and the aromatic compounds. Though different perfumeries have different compositions, the scent becomes stronger with the increasing percentage of these compounds. For example the oil concentration in Eau de Parfum (EdP) is generally higher than in Eau de Toilette (EdT). Today’s commercial fragrances are a blend of various chemicals and essential oils. Identifying the components accurately is quite difficult. It’s only a perfume connoisseur who can sniff the ingredients present in a particular scent. The price of a fragrance basically depends on the following natural as well as chemical characteristics-

Uniqueness of the scent
Complexity of the scent
There are no specific procedures for creating fragrances. The ingredients that are presently used can be roughly categorized as: primary scents, modifiers, blenders and fixatives. Tinctures, essential oils and absolutes are the major constituents of the current commercial perfumes.

Negotiating Success Begins With An Effective RFP

Although so much of the potential success of every negotiation is dependent upon doing much homework and preliminary examination of needs, priorities, etc., we often witness negotiations proceed without a clearcut direction or goals. To approach anywhere near out optimal potential for successful negotiation, we must first clearly know what we need, want, and are trying to achieve and accomplish. Some of the essential purposes that should be addressed include: to clarify and prioritize needs and positions; to disclose and “test the waters,” to open and have an direct discussion and divulge what you are looking for; to learn/ discover the degree of flexibility that the other side may have; to control costs and get what is needed; and to clearly identify and communicate specifications, etc. The best negotiating position nearly always begins when one side presents a Request for Proposal (RFP) that informs the other party what is needed and being looked for. Doing so will both clarify and expedite the process, weeding out and eliminating parties that are totally inflexible, and thus more easily identifying the business partners that show the greatest potential for meeting what is needed.

1. It is amazing how much time is expended and wasted because needs and priorities are not clarified, identified and prioritized from the onset. When these steps are taken, it potentiates greater understanding, and often lays the groundwork for true win – win approaches to the negotiating process.

2. Never assume that the other party knows what you are looking for. While there are often many similarities, it is important to understand that each negotiation has certain unique qualities and characteristics. Therefore, the best results generally occur when, early on in the process, each side indicates what it needs and wants, and the focus is on obtaining a meeting of the minds that both parties are satisfied with.

3. Many inexperienced negotiators often tend to try to “hide” their weaknesses, and therefore provide far less information than is needed to accomplish what is necessary. The best approach is to seek a solution where both sides benefit, where potential cost savings are discovered and passed on, and both parties needs are achieved. Great negotiating means having open discussions and clearly divulging what you are looking for. Remember, the other side cannot “read your mind.”

4. It is important to neither overestimate or underestimate the degree of flexibility that the other side possesses. There is almost always some degree of “give,” but the wisest negotiators are the ones that spend the time, listen effectively, and pay attention to where they can “push” more, and where to slow down.

5. Great negotiating has an objective controlling and knowing costs, while achieving what is needed. It requires seeking alternatives, and being flexible in approach.

6. However, there is no conclusion to any successful negotiations unless each side fully understands the specifications and details that are needed.

Successful negotiating is a step – by – step process. Only when both sides commit to getting something accomplished where both sides feel they have won, and are satisfied, does it accomplish what it should!