So there I was sitting nervously, on what seemed to be the tiniest chair ever, waiting for the attendees to arrive.  My visual aids were solid, but I had no idea what I was actually going to say.  I kept reminding myself it’s only 15 minutes, and if you talk for 10, they can ask questions for the last 5.  Then suddenly, there were 30 pairs of little people eyeballs staring up at me ready to eat up every word that left my mouth…

careerdaysetup

Friday was such a fun day for me.  It was Career Day in my son’s kindergarten classroom, and I was invited to come speak about my job.  I was so excited to share how I created my own job, which started as a hobby (aka this blog), and has turned into a business I love.  As much as I love talking about Teal & Lime, I was still a bit nervous.  Sometimes 5-year olds can be hard to keep engaged.

I knew strong visual aids would be key to keeping them engaged and sharing my rather visual business.  I created 3 simple visual aids to teach the kids what I do as a blogger and decorator.

Blog Visual Aid

The first visual aid was designed to connect with the kids and have a wow moment.  And, I got the wow!  Nothing beats 30 kindergartens jaws dropping.  Throughout the year, they have been creating journaling pages, where they draw a picture and write a sentence.  I explained to them that my career started as a hobby with my blog, aka online journal.  This helped me make a connection with them.

For the wow factor, I printed the first 10 pages of my blog.  I taped them all together and rolled it up from the bottom, clipping the roll at the bottom of the first page.  I introduced them to my blog showing them the first printed page.  I explained unlike a journal where you flip through the pages like a book, on a blog you scroll to see more stories.  I told them I wrote in my journal over 400 times in the last two years.  Then, I had my son undo the clips letting the blog roll out before the kids.  They gasped!  It was exciting for them to think of a journal that goes on and on.

Blog Visual Aid

Mood Board Samples

My second visual aid was to introduce them to the business side of Teal & Lime.  I wanted to somehow bring my portfolio to life.  I printed 8 x 10 images of four client mood boards and mounted them to black foam core.  I carefully selected the images that would allow me to share a brief story with the kids.

moodboardsamples

1.  Teal & Olive Living Room – The first board I showed them, explaining it has my favorite colors.

2.  Bold & Happy Living Room – I told them the story about how the mom had adopted her son from Africa and they could see the art print of Africa in the corner.  They spent the past year learning all about the continents, so this was a hit.

3.  Coral Crush Home Office – I explained this room was for a mommy who works at home as a photographer and she has two little boys.  I pointed out the play table and poufs I added for a little play space in the mommy’s office.

4.  Little Man Cave Playroom – I knew would be a hit with the boys.  I told them I created it for 3 brothers who loved hockey.

While I finished my talk, I let the kids pass around and look at the mood boards.  They all wanted to see each one.

Giant Mood Board Visual Aid

My last visual aid helped quiet the rustling over trying to see all the mood boards, when I told them I would show them how I create a mood board.  To create this visual aid, I painted a piece of foam core with one of our leftover paint colors.  I clipped it to a large drawing board.  I brought along fabric swatches, paint chips, a scrap of rug from my recent rug ottoman project, and some catalog clippings of furniture and decor.  I laminated the catalog clippings to make them easier to handle.

Mood Board Visual Aid

I explained my design process while pinning things to the board.  I told them I like to start by choosing a color palette, as I pinned two paint chips to the board and showed them one of my paint decks.  Then, I like to select a rug for the room, as I pinned the rug sample to the board.  Next, I choose furniture for the room, as I pinned furniture images to the board.  Then, I add in fabrics.  I pinned a large swatch explaining it was the fabric I would use for curtains.  I added a few smaller swatches for pillow fabrics.  Lastly, I add in the decor, which I explained was art, lamps, decorative objects, as I pinned images of decor to the board.  Once the board was complete, I told them this is what I give to my clients so they can decorate their room.

careerdaypresentation

Although they did not create the giant mood board, it was still interactive as they watched me create it layer by layer.

Mood Board Activity Sheet

I finished with a crowd-pleaser…an activity packet to take home.  I wanted to give them each a worksheet where they could create their own mood board.  I made a mood board sheet.  I also made a page filled with different furniture and decor options for a bedroom, which I drew by hand.  My mom helped me cut up little pieces of fabric and paint chips to include with each packet.  The kids can color the furniture sheet, cut out their favorites, and add them to the mood board.  They can glue their favorite fabrics and paint colors to the mood board, too.  My son spent almost an hour quietly creating his the other day.

Mood Board Activity Sheet

That short 15 minutes was the highlight of my week.  Not only did I get to spend time with my son in the classroom before the school year ends, but I got to teach 30 little people something new.  It was awesome to see how easy it was to relate to them and get them interested in design.  I hope I have the opportunity to speak at more career days in the future!

By the way, I am 5’10″.  That chair, appropriately labeled “chair”, is the tiniest chair I have ever sat in.  I sit down and my knees are up to my chest.  The table next to it was pretty tiny, too.  When I stood to pin stuff on the mood board I kind of felt like Alice in Wonderland after eating the cake.  Not complaining though…I love being tall and wearing flats whenever I want.

17 Responses to My First Public Speaking Engagement

  1. Sarah says:

    It sounds like you did a great job! I love that you gave them a little handout – how fun!

  2. Shellie L. says:

    This is so neat! Great job!

  3. Angie T says:

    I love the mood board handouts! I’ll have to remember that for this summer. My kids would have fun with it!

  4. Daina says:

    What a lovely day for you! I am sure that the kids loved it.

  5. Jenny says:

    I’m a teacher, so this was lovely to read about! Wish you could talk to my kindergarteners in the fall ;)

  6. Lisa says:

    Wow! If I had seen your presentation at age 5 I would have decided right then and there that I wanted to be an interior designer/blogger. What a great way to show kids possibilities.

    • Jackie says:

      Aw, thanks Lisa. I hope I gave them a new career path to consider. I really wanted to emphasize how I made my own job…the traditional route isn’t for everyone.

  7. CM says:

    How cool! You put so much thought into this. I’m totally going to do that worksheet too! :)

    • Jackie says:

      The worksheet was fun. My son loved it. All the kindergarten teachers watched the presentation and were bummed at the end that I did not have extra worksheets for them :)

  8. Patrina says:

    Way to go Jackie! I too would have been an interior designer had I seen this @ age 5. LOL I am 6’0 and always in heels to boot. I loved visitng my daughters Kindergaten class where they thought I was a giant or something. Gotta love the tiny chairs.

  9. I think you did an excellent job. I am a teacher (for older kids though) and wish our parents would present their jobs at school and care so much about their presentations!
    Jule

  10. Jackie B says:

    Wow, Jackie, you are so creative!
    I was excited for this post to see what you did for career day.
    What a great way to explain what you do. And the take home idea is so fun. Maybe parents could incorporate some of the ideas that their kids have into their rooms! :)

  11. Terri says:

    Awesome!! Congratulations on your first speaking gig. ;) What a great presentation you gave that captured those little people!! The take-home activity packets were a brilliant idea as well.

  12. Becky says:

    Good job! Sounds like everyone had a blast! I bet the kids were excited to create their own boards.

  13. Shelley says:

    Love it ! And so happy it was this job you now get to share instead of your for former job !!

  14. juanita says:

    Wow this is amazing!!! I love the handout…is there any chance of us being able to get a copy of this??? I seriously lack in the creative side of things…I can copy, but nothing original pops into this brain, but I’d love to help my kids explore/discover there creative side ;)

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