Saturday, May 2, 2015

Writing about speaking

I decided that I need to be more visible when I became an independent developer a few years ago. I came up with three ways to increase visibility:

  1. Blogging
  2. Public speaking
  3. Social media

Turns out they are not three separate things, but very intertwined. Blogging allows me to showcase my technical expertise, helping me get my first speaking opportunities. As I gained more experience I started blogging about speaking as well, which is a great way to establish yourself as a speaker who cares about giving good talks.

There are a few ways you can write about speaking:

Topic list

To get started, write about the topics that you would like to speak on. It gives you a chance to take inventory of your interests, and it signals to others that you want to speak so they can connect you with meetups and conferences.

Some examples:

War stories

We are all nervous about speaking, and it really helps to know other people have the same problems too. Share how you feel before, during and after you speak, and how you cope with your anxiety.

Some examples:

Conference report

Talk about what you saw at a conference. What talks did you see? Did you pick up any new speaking techniques? How did your talk go?

You can try my blogging formula for conference reports. Key points: Embed photos and tweets!

Transform your talk into written form

Whether it is a 5-minute lightning talk or 50-minute lecture, you have taken out a lot of material to form a good narrative and maintain a good pace (You have, right?). You can turn those additional material into blog posts.

Kate Heddleston did a phenomenal job with her diversity talk at Pycon. She wrote 5 blog posts expanding on the points she made on her talk, and posted them before the conference to garner interest.

Another way to expand your talk into a blog post annotated slides. Here are some examples:

Do it

There you go, I have written about speaking (actually, I have written about writing about speaking. I know, so meta). Your turn now. If you are an aspiring speaker, go write your topic list. And if you have given a few talks already, write a summary post of your journey. How did you start? What have you learned since then? What are your next goals?

This post is written to celebrate the sixmonthiversary of Technically Speaking. Subscribe for more public speaking tips.

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