Monday, May 13, 2013

Time For You to Get on Stage - #SpeakerU

Having just returned from IamLUG, I've realized that it isn't too early to start thinking about next year's IBM Connect.  At both Connect 2013 and IamLUG, there was a great deal of discussion around the question, "How can we get more people up on stage presenting?"

Well, I've been doing this for a while (as a speaker, coach, and content selector), so I've put together a few thoughts, a few experiences, and--yes--a few war stories, in the hopes that some of you will be encouraged to make that jump from "attendee" to "speaker/presenter."  For lack of a better title, I'm calling it Speaker University, or #SpeakerU for short.

Now, let me be clear; there is no One True Path to success as a technical speaker.  Each of us has both strengths to which we can play and weaknesses to be avoided.  My tips may not work for everyone, and I ABSOLUTELY encourage everyone to chime in - not just here, but on their own blogs as well.  (I would like to see the #SpeakerU hashtag, just so that folks can more easily find a range of voices on the topic...)

Having said that, here's what I'm going to write about over the next few months:

  • Picking a topic
  • Writing an abstract
  • Outlining a presentation
  • Creating slides
  • Timing
  • What to do (and not to do) while speaking
  • How to catch that person in the last row AND hold their attention
  • ...and more.
Down the road, I'm planning to move this into small-group and (perhaps) one-on-one coaching sessions, using Skype, Sametime, Google hangouts, or whatever works best.  Think of it as an online Toastmasters meeting, and you won't be far off the mark.

Here's what I ask of you:

  1. If you're thinking about jumping into the pool - GREAT!  It's an incredible experience, whether you're presenting at a small local meeting, a user group conference, or a major industry event.   You won't regret it.
  2. If you're already an established speaker/presenter, I'd LOVE for you to post your own tips/tricks/techniques - write a blog entry, a series of tweets, I don't care...but it's time to start priming the next generation of speakers.  Use the #SpeakerU hashtag when possible, so that folks can catch all of us in as few searches as possible.
That's it for now...coming up: Picking the Right Topic.  See you then!

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