As I scroll down my Book
Week Month schedule and about to face 27 school visits, I thought I’d share my tried and tested top ten survival tips.
1. Reconfirm dates and times with the library or school beforehand. Organisers have been known to go on long service leave or change position.
2. Prepare a presentation that’s age appropriate – find out in advance what year levels you will be seeing. If it’s the entire school in one presentation, you will need to engage the little ones through to the older students. Prepare accordingly.
3. Confirm equipment needs: i.e. a data projector/interactive whiteboard. Always good to carry an extra VGA cable, HDMI cable, powerboard and batteries for a remote. If technology fails, be prepared to have a Plan B
= you alone and the audience. It’s refreshing!
4. Ask where best to park. Organisers will know parking restrictions or may offer you a prime spot.
5. Sign books or autograph books, but not tiny scraps of paper. Alternatively, ask the teacher to photocopy a sheet with multiple signatures.
6. Teachers will adore you if you leave a ‘hands-on’ activity they can use in the classroom for follow-up after your visit.
7. Ask in advance if the school would like a book order form to purchase books for the students and/or school.
8. Be respectful in your presentation. Don’t go for the shock and awe to amuse the students with words that will upset the teachers. Especially if you want an invitation back or anywhere for that matter. Word travels quickly.
9. Ask for a microphone if you feel your voice is going – even with a small group. Don’t wait til it goes completely.
10. Be prepared to change tack. Have Plan B ready to go and even a Plan C.