During the fifteen months of the pandemic lockdown, I have given no presentations or readings before a live audience. Thanks to a faithful friend, I have a working webcam, so I was able to manage a few remote appearances. I have missed the face-to-face contact.
But now, with the vaccine being administered widely, I’m being invited again to do in-person readings and presentations. I’m delighted. I have missed greatly being able to see, hear, and touch the human beings I want to communicate with.
I’ve written here before about a peculiarity that affects me. I am normally introverted, shy, and quiet. In groups, I have little to say but listen carefully. All that changes when you put me behind a microphone in front of an audience. The hidden extrovert suddenly takes over. I can’t wait to slake my thirst for interaction.
The process of communication between a speaker and an audience is little observed and commented on because the subject of the exchange gets all the attention. But it is the process that I crave and most enjoy. Watching audience members who speak is a lesson in human behavior. Some are quiet and self-effacing; others bold and even brash.
But what I enjoy and learn from most is the reaction of the audience members to what I say and how I say it. I watch their faces (if I can see them). I listen carefully to whatever noise they make. I try to sense the atmosphere that they and I have created together.
More next time.