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16 October 2011

The Sunday Salon...Downton Abbey, anyone?


What a busy week. I spent four days in Boulder, Colorado for work, reviewing among other things, the correct way to present before a group. Some subjects were already something we knew, but it's always good to be reminded of how to build that structured format to effectively communicate. I do need a lot of help with it, since in a social setting I'm comfortable, but stand me up in front of a group of people and speak? That makes me nervous. I have to overcome this soon especially considering we have a huge presentation coming up in three weeks in Chicago. Any tips? Books, breathing, or hypnotheraphy?

I'm behind on posting for the RIP readalong of The Lantern because of the business trip but I'm not behind on reading. What an excellent book! Deborah Lawrensen has a superb ability to describe the lush Provence landscape and weave in the creepy haunting of previous tenants of the beautiful home that she's living in with Dom, a man who has his own secrets. It's exactly the type of book to read as the cooler months come upon us.

I did download onto my iPad the movie Jane Eyre for the flight to Colorado. And while I know that it's received mixed reviews, I really enjoyed it. The cast was fantastic and it was shot beautifully. I'll need to post my review for the RIP Challenge's Peril on the Screen.
And thanks to Jenn aka the picky girl, I went ahead and also downloaded Downton Abbey, featured on PBS' Masterpiece series and is currently in its second season. It will be available for Americans to watch in January 2012. Let me not shout this too loudly, but...I LOVE THIS SHOW. Fellow addicts Dolce Bellezza and Lakeside Musing and I tweeted this week on our love for the show and cannot wait for the return of next season. A brilliant show that begins in 1912 and and watches the lives of the wealthy family of Downton and their servants, there were only seven episodes for season one. I watched it all within two days. Beautiful set, wardrobe, hair, add to the ensemble cast which includes everyone from Elizabeth McGovern to Maggie Smith (Harry Potter!).  If you like historical fiction, or even just an incredible story line with a variety of characters, you really should rent or download this series right away. You'll be addicted.

Are there other shows similar to Downton Abbey that I should watch?


26 comments:

  1. I am the opposite of you - I am usually uncomfortable in social settings but I don't mind presenting in a formal situation. I like structure :P

    I've never actually watched Downtown Abbey despite it being on every Sunday night here. Maybe I should?

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  2. Oh I can't wait for Downton Abbey to return! Will probably do a Season 1 marathon a month before season 2. When will it come back? January?

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  3. I'm the complete opposite.. I'm not comfortable in social situations especially one on one but I enjoy public speaking and am pretty good at it lol. To me it's like a performance and u can be who u want. You're the one that knows the material!

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  4. Came here from the facebook group, but am adding you to my blogroll...hope you don't mind?

    Jane Eyre: If you mean the most recent incarnation with Mia W. (I cannot ever remember to spell her name - she was Alice in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, though) I, too, thought it was a really lovely interpretation, and not just because it was the first version of the film with a Jane who was not too old for the part.

    Downton Abbey: It's been in my Netflix streaming queue for ages, but I've not actually watched it yet. Sounds like I should.

    Happy reading!

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  5. I did alot of public speaking when I worked (like thousands of people - eek!) and the best advice I can give is to KNOW YOUR MATERIAL. Pracice your ass off. If you are comfortable with what you are presenting, everything will fall into place. You always get butterflies but they go away once you kick into gear.

    I love Boulder. There are worse places to visit! I need to look into Jane Eyre on audio. I've had the book on my Kindle forever, but audio is a better bet with me!

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  6. Hurray for Downton Abbey!! Don't know how we will wait until January, but plans for a season 1 marathon over Christmas break are already in place. I'm thinking about watching Upstairs, Downstairs in the meantime, but will be curious to see what other suggestions you receive.

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  7. I know you're going to rock that presentation - you are so smart and articulate and will wow your audience!

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  8. I've heard such great things about Downton Abbey, but I haven't found the time to watch it yet.

    Good luck with your presentation! I'm not a good public speaker myself, but I know with music performances what has helped with stage fright has been more performances. The more often I've played in front of audiences the less I get stage fright. So maybe practice in front of a few friends?

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  9. I did love the original Upstairs, Downstairs but perhaps you've already seen that? My friend says the Forsyte Saga is wonderful, but I haven't seen it myself. I'm holding my breath for the return of Downton Abbey!

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  10. Oh, Downtown Abbey sounds wonderful!

    Over the years, I've had many opportunities to speak before audiences: during trainings, or during our fundraiser events in which we tried to attract businesses.

    I found it helpful to seek out one or two people in the audience who looked friendly and connect with them. Of course, you have to have several, so it won't seem as though you're looking at just one or two.

    I've heard some people say they visualize the audience members in their underwear, but that would just make me giggle.

    Good luck!

    Here's MY SUNDAY SALON POST and
    MY WEBSITE

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  11. I wish I had tips for you on the public speaking - that would mean I'd know how I was going to do all of the training I have to conduct at work the next couple of weeks!

    If you liked Downton Abbey, I would also recommend Upstairs, Downstairs. The new version was very good. It also ran many years ago and that version was marvelous; not sure if it's available.

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  12. Natalie, I also have trouble speaking to large groups of people, and have to do it very often for church. I find what helps the most is to pick a spot well above the crowd's heads and speak directly to the middle distance. When I try to focus on a particular face, even if friendly, I start to verbally stumble, so the unfocused approach seems to work better for me.

    I just added Downtown Abbey to my Netflix queue as well. It sounds like something that I shouldn't miss!

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  13. I can't wait for the next season of Downton Abbey. I love shows set in that time period. Upstairs Downstiars was excellent, and Brideshead Revisited was also very good.

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  14. I have Downton Abbey in my Netflix queue as well and need to watch it soon. Have you seen the movie Gosford Hall? Not exactly the same time period - perhaps set in the late 20's or so, but Maggie Smith is in that one too, along with a lot of other actors. It's sort of a mystery, but has a lot of above and below stairs interaction.

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  15. Sounds like a great show! Thanks for sharing.

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  16. Downton Abbey is wonderful. You might like Larkrise to Candleford or Cranford. Both of those take place a little earlier than Downton Abbey and are not quite as serious, but they're good. I can't wait for Season 2 of Downton Abbey (The War Years?)

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  17. Yea! I'm so glad you enjoyed Downton Abbey. I am so excited for the next season to get here.

    I've heard Upstairs, Downstairs and North and South are good.

    Very different, but I would also recommend the BBC Sherlock.

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  18. Oh The Lantern sounds so good! I hope to read it soon!

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  19. Natalie....As an introvert, I found public speaking in business a bit intimidating, however, if I just psyched myself up by telling myself that I knew more than my audience about the subject, it was no longer scary. You'll be fine.

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  20. I've had Downton Abbey in my Netflix queue for ages - it's hard to find time to watch it, though, as it's not something my husband would appreciate. ;)

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  21. I was in London this weekend and at Waterstones I came across the Downton Abbey Companion, on which I dutifully spent my last pound before returning to Brussels.

    I imagine you know North & South? Also take a look at Our Mutual Friend (BBC adaptation) and Under the Greenwood Tree.

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  22. It's a great show, isn't it? So far I don't like the second season as much as the first one, but it's still very addictive.

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  23. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Downton Abbey. Have you read they Maisie Dobbs series of books. They have much the same feel to them. I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for the next season.

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  24. I am another big fan of Downton Abbey. Am waiting eagerly for the next season. So glad they didn't just stop at one.

    This brought back all the joy I used to feel when watching the old Masterpiece Theater British series.

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  25. I love Downton Abbey too. It's such a fun show. I enjoyed the Cradford masterpiece that a few people mentioned, though it is a bit slower. I'd also recommend the new version of Sherlock Holmes on the BBC if you haven't seen it. It's wonderful!

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