AGL 014: Public Speaking, 7 tips to get you started

 

A lot of time people confuse being a good speaker with being a good leader.  They aren’t related, but usually, with a little practice, you can become a good speaker, just like with practice you can become a good leader.  It does help your influence if you’re a good speaker, whether you’re speaking at meetups, conferences, or just to a small team in a conference room. To see some of the best speeches or talks, check out TED.com

  • Know your subject.  Be sure you are an expert on the topic you are presenting… Bear in mind that an expert is someone who knows more about the subject than 50% of the people you’re presenting too.  If you’re only a sudo-expert, you can become an expert with in no time.
  • Tell a story.  Be sure you have some case studies or good stories to add.  Always tell a story.  People relate and respond to a story more than just facts.  If you can provide a personal story you’ll have more impact with your audience. Some of the best TED Talks I’ve ever seen are stories.
  • Prepare, practice, and repeat.  Prepare your presentation and practice it.  Then repeat and repeat again.  Anticipate problems that may arise and have contingencies for those problems (i.e. projector doesn’t work, etc.). Be sure you practice out loud. I’ve found that I talk faster out loud than I do when practicing in my head. Most people don’t know how to practice. I like to record my talks on my phone and listen to them while I drive, so I’m forced to hear them through.  No one likes to hear themselves talk, but if you do it, you will get better.  Practice like you play… its not only true in sports, but in speeches too.
  • Know your audience.  Get an idea of who you’ll be talking to and find a way to relate to their experiences.  If you’re talking to GIS folks, talk geography or maps, if you’re talking to software developers, talk debugging, IDEs, etc.  Relating to people on their level helps them relate to you and your subject matter.
  • Don’t say “hmm…Ah…”  Practice not saying “hmm… ah…” or words like that.  If you need to stop and think, stop and think.  Don’t add filler words.  Sometimes a pause can be used to add emphasis.  Also don’t apologize for mistakes, roll with them.  Most people won’t notice them if you don’t point them out.
  • Know your environment.  Visit where you’re going to be speaking if possible.  If not, ask what the room is like and be there early to get acquainted. It makes a huge difference in your comfort level if you’re familiar with your environment.
  • Relax.  What’s the worst that can happen?  Play out your worse fears and how you’ll recover from them in your head.  If you bomb (and believe me I have) you’ll recover in no time.  Understand that everyone there to hear you speak wants you to be successful and is rooting for you.

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Check out my TEDx Talk here.

November 10, 2015

AGL 014: Public Speaking, 7 tips to get you started

  A lot of time people confuse being a good speaker with being a good leader.  They aren’t related, but usually, with a little practice, you can become a good speaker, just like with practice you can become a good leader.  It does help your influence if you’re a good speaker, whether you’re speaking at meetups, conferences, or just to a small team in a conference room. To see some of the best speeches or talks, check out TED.com Know your subject.  Be sure you are an expert on the topic you are presenting… Bear in mind that an expert […]
November 4, 2015

AGL 013: Leading through a crisis – 10 takeaways

Things aren’t always going to be good as a leader.  As a leader we must learn to lead in the good times and in the bad.  Leading through a crisis is just a fact that will come along with being a technical leader.  I recently was able to both witness a good leader lead through a crisis and be the leader in a different crisis.  I want to share a few things that I took away from it. Stay Calm. The best way to lead in a crisis is to stay calm. I try to tell my team that no […]
October 30, 2015

AGL 012: Being Successful in College, 14 tips for Students

As a Professor and a leader, I’m passionate about college student’s success both in and out of the classroom. I should be an expert at this, seeing as I’ve been either in college or working for a college (I’m a professor) for more than 15 years.  Here are a few tips that will help students be successful. Stay busy (get involved) – Studies show that students that are involved in more than 1 campus organization or student activity have higher GPA’s than students that are not involved at all (source Department of Health and Human Services).  Plus involvement helps you build social […]
October 28, 2015

AGL 011: The Art of Negotiation, get a better deal, better salary and more.

You’ll never have more opportunity for salary negotiation than you do just before you accept you job.  If you already have a job and you’re happy where you work and the idea of looking for something else scares the crap out of you, there’s still hope.  You can still negotiate your salary or other perks at your job. So let’s say job negotiation isn’t what you’re looking for, you can negotiate other things too, basically, everything is negotiable.  If you have skills, you can also barter, which usually requires some negotiation skills. Do your pre-work.  You have to be confident […]
October 22, 2015

AGL 010: Book Review: Daniel Pink, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Dan Pink gave what might be one of my favorite TED talks of all time as he explained the puzzle of motivation (It’s also one of the most viewed with over 14 million views at the time of this posting).  This talk made me want to read his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. This book changed the way I motivate my employees and teams.  It also inspired me to use the information in the book to motivate not only the people that reported to me, but others above me, and to the right and to the […]
October 19, 2015

AGL 009: Creative Rhythm – Focus, Relationships, Energy, Stimuli, Hours

In Todd Henry’s book “The Accidental Creative” he talks about five elements of Creative Rhythm.  As an IT Leader you’re called to make creative decisions and come up with brilliant solutions at a moment’s notice.  In a future episode I’ll do a full book review of “The Accidental Creative,” but I feel the 5 elements of creative rhythm is worthy of a show by it self. Creative Rhythms are important because as leaders we must understand that we can’t go all-in 100% of the time and expect to maintain our productivity, mind, and joy for our work. Consistency is important, […]