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Tips on Speaking

January 21st, 2006 Leave a comment Go to comments

I ran into a piece on Guy Kawasaki’s blog about giving great speeches which dovetails nicely with Kathy‘s tips on speaking at tech conferences. Of course I find this type of thing particularly interesting these days as I try my best to find my way into more speaking gigs (anyone? anyone? Bueller, Bueller….) Like Guy, I used to be deathly afraid of speaking to groups and I don’t know when it happened, but at some point a bit flipped and now you can’t keep me away from an opportunity to speak. Heck, at my last job, the joke was I couldn’t think without a dry erase marker in my hand (hey, I really like white boards, OK?) and more recently, while discussing developer training one person said, in effect, that they wouldn’t be able to keep me away from the podium… Hey, it’s like a drug, give me a whiteboard and a willing audience (optional – I don’t mind if they are coerced into being there) and I’m a happy camper!

In Guy’s followup, he mentions the importance of using a conversation tone (again this is reminiscent of an entry on Creating Passionate Users!) Too often we forget this tip – I’ve been to a lot of training where it was clear the presenter was following a script and trying to be “professional.” Sigh. It’s a lot more engaging when the speaker cares! How often have you been to a talk by a “big name” who clearly is bored by the whole thing? Would you rather listen to that or someone that had an infectious passion for the topic but whose name you wouldn’t recognize? Unfortunately, (it seems) many conferences are “closed” to people that aren’t proven names, but the only way to get a name is to speak…

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