Life · VMware

Hacking Public Speaking

This morning I am crashing down on a bean bag to listen to a few tricks from newbies and seasoned public speakers alike on how to master this skill. Thanks to Ariel Sanchez (@arielsanchezmor ), Thom Greene (@tbgree00), Edward Haletky (@Texiwill), and Simon Long (@SimonLong_ ) for this excellent talk.

  1. Create a mind map, and plan your flow of the presentation. If you present something you love, it comes easier.
  2. If you are a mumbler or is not your first language, try to speak slower.
  3. Pick a topic that you feel comfortable with and that you know pretty well.
  4. Practice or rehearse,  you don’t have to wait for an opportunity to speak in public to start preparing, if you know you love something you’ll eventually present about it.
  5. Be realistic, sometimes there are questions you don’t know the answer to, don’t try to BS about,  answer: “I don’t know, but I will found out, and I will get back to you.” But do follow up, at the end of the talk collect the contact information of the person to be able to deliver the answer.
  6. Know yourself, some people are comfortable with being thrown into the cold water, others need to dip the toes. For example, talk to people before the session starts, or maybe have a ritual of something that you normally do to ease yourself.
  7. Don’t stand in front of everyone waiting for the presentation to start.
  8. Have confidence that the audience is there because they want to listen to what you are presenting and that you are the SME on that topic.
  9. Make eye contact to get a feeling how the material is getting absorved. If you see that people are wondering, then you could change your strategy a little bit, this is why is really important to know the material by heart.
  10. Record yourself practicing the presentation and post it on youtube, or at least record it with the idea in mind that it will be published.
  11. Have some friends be there, and ask for pictures while you are presenting to celebrate afterwards. That though will pump you.
  12. Give yourself time to prepare and to be able to share your presentation and content with friends to receive feedback with enough time to make corrections.
  13. Have the talk ready in full with a few days of buffer, prepare something that you can use as it is, but then you can keep tuning up to the last moment.
  14. Start preaparing as early as you can so you don’t get into a timing problem.
  15. Support from family, co-workers, and friends helps a lot.
  16. To get used to your voice, record yourself and listen to it as many times as you need to.
  17. If you are presenting a demo, expect that it will go wrong and have a video as backup.
  18. Don’t plan jokes, things will happen that will make you look funny anyway, smile a lot tho.
  19. Nerves will be present, develop strategies to cope with it.
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