3 Ideas for Beginners in Public Speaking

We at SpeakEasy get tons of requests to mentor people who wants to start public speaking. Because we all are volunteers and matchmaking is very sensitive process, sometimes it takes time until mentee is matched with a mentor. To speed it up we are looking and experimenting with new ideas.

Other bottleneck is how long time it takes for mentee to get accepted for a talk. In many cases basic understanding about public speaking and/or personal goals are missing. To fix that here is my short list what I suggest all mentees to start with:

1. Blazingly Simple Guide

Rob Lambert, who is very entertaining speaker himself, put a list “how to Submit and Speak at a Conference” together with all kind of aspects new speakers should have a thought about.

2. Practical Slide Deck

I used it for my very first talk and I still like to use it as a frame for my talks. Keeps me focused on listeners. A 15 Minute Guide : How to Create a Conference Presentation.

3. A book

Scott Berkun “Confessions of a Public Speaker” It is not a lecture, but more like a collection of stories and tips. This book helped me to lose my fear and start to enjoy public speaking.

Important

No matter what is your topic – technical, soft skill, experience story – one thing is essential. You have to be emotionally connected to your message. Talk on topics you are really passionate about.

You Are Next

November 18 is the special day for all Latvians. It is our independence day. This year(2017) we celebrated 99th and Latvian community in Berlin organized a very nice party with a variety of musical performances. The club was quite small, there was almost no backstage, in-between performances singers were among the listeners.  I was holding up my 4yo that she can better see the stage. At one moment she turned to me and said to me: “you are going up next, right?”

Amazing how simple is 4yo life… If you know what you do (I was singing along whole night) and like what you do, you go up on the stage and do it there.

Why am I tell you this story?

At conferences, I meet a lot of amazing people and we share a bunch of stories. Many people, who I met, shared their secret – they would like to share their stories from the stage, but think that no one will be interested. My answer to this is: “do not decide for me”.

If you need help to find your topic, prepare your abstract or presentation, then mentors and team behind SpeakEasy will help you. I know, because I was SpeakEasy mentee myself. Now I am helping to match mentees and mentors. Do not let your fear limit your potential.

You are next, right?

 

Mental Strength

 I come from Latvia and our nation is quite small. It depends how you count, but there are only around 2 million Latvians in the world. Good thing about it – that there is space for everyone and if one of us gets successful – everybody feels proud and celebrates it. Since two years there is this guy, from the town next to the sea, who managed to work his way till New York. His name is Kristaps Porziņģis.

His start in NY Knicks was not easy. People did not know him and were very disappointed when he was drafted as #4 in 2015. “They booed him. They said he wasn’t good enough. They didn’t know who he was. He used their criticism as motivation. He proved them wrong. #KP6

I never was in any sports team, so I do not know how it is from the inside. But that was time when I started to think: how it is to perform every second day in front of hundreds of people, who show their dislike and disbelieve in you in very direct way. What kind of motivation, focus and believe in yourself is necessary to prove them wrong?

Later, on my birthday, I got a present sent by post from my father. A book written by Kristaps brother Jānis about their way to New York. At the beginning, I was surprised about the language – locker room talk – simple and direct. As I got to use to it, was blown away by the story, the obstacles and the person, who in such young age made life changing decisions.  Kristaps woke my curiosity about the sports psychology. Some of its elements could be smart to use in software testing.

I can not give you link of the book because it is in Latvian only, but here is video compilation, where best athletes share their formula of achievements.

Back to testing and testers. Many professionals in testing are afraid of public speaking. But hey!, in software conferences most of the auditorium are quietly listening to the speaker. Or tweeting. But definitely no one is booing. So what you are afraid of to step on the stage and tell your story?

 

CFP Time!

Last week I submitted my very first conference talk. Whoop, whoop!

But before that I went through several stages: do I really need this to do? Does someone want to hear this? Do I want this?

Yes, I want!

And if nobody will want to hear my story, I will not cry, because I had quality time with myself and my testing subject. I sorted out my thoughts and ideas and I made statement to myself. I also finally wrote my bio and published link of my blog. I am proud about result of conference submitting process already! Everything what comes afterwards is an extra.

Thank you, Speak Easy, for being there and helping to find me a mentor. Thank you, Gerie, for being perfect mentor for me. If anybody of you are wondering about trying out to speak in a conference, go and contact Speak Easy! It is really easy!

But I have one more link for you – Maaret was so brave to write about the dark side of being conference speaker. This profession has space of improvement in many of aspects. It is sad that we do not appreciate people, who invest so much their free time, to help testing community get better and stronger. And to be honest if our both presentations will be accepted for the same conference, I do not think that it is fair, that Maaret and me would rewarded equally. At the moment I am just happy to learn and find my international testing voice. To be honest, I do not know will I have a voice on stage at all… I was a school teacher once, so I now how it is to stand in front of bunch of  thirsty for knowledge people, but any way – stage is a little bit of scary place.

To end this post on positive tune – work, local meet-ups, conferences, webinars, slack & skype groups – that’s all great, but I like what Liz Ryan says:

Life comes first, work comes second.