Short one this week, but in my defence, I was in the middle of penning two different articles and by ‘penning’ I mean I’ve written the titles and stopped experimenting with the font.
Anyhow, one speaker due to talk at our next tech event emailed me to ask, “Any advice for a first-time speaker?”
It was a weird introspective moment for me, as I realized I had now reached a point where I was at the opposite end of a question. After thinking about what to say, I replied to the email with this:
My Advice to a First-Time Speaker
- Know why you're giving the talk and stick to the point throughout. An audience can lose interest if a talk feels undirected.
- Practice, practice, practice. Once you have it ready, go over it a few times. It'll help improve your confidence and allow you to return easily to what you were saying if you go off-script.
- Everyone wants you to succeed. Have you ever watched a talk and hoped that it went badly? No? That's how everyone else feels as well. Everyone wants you to do well and will forgive if there are any mistakes or problems so don't worry too much about messing up.
- Keep it simple. Putting a Wikipedia article's level of information on a single slide, is quite difficult for anyone to absorb. There's a certain art in being able to talk about complex topics in a succinct, yet understandable way.
- Arrive Early. It can give you time to familiarize yourself with the venue, address any technical issues and an opportunity to relax before you go up there and slay. If you find that you’re going to be late, communicate. Let the organizers know and they’ll appreciate it more than radio silence.
- Have fun! It's your first time speaking, that's a really cool milestone! Few have the guts to give it a go. Don't think too much about creating the bestest thing ever, but focus on creating something you would enjoy showing and speaking about to others. People enjoy it when the person on stage seems genuine and enthusiastic about what they are presenting.
What would you say?
This advice is an amalgamation of things I’ve picked up from others, talks I’ve enjoyed and from my time doing open-mic comedy.
I was curious what advice you would give if someone asked you? And if you’re due to give your first talk soon, was any of this useful?
That’s all for now, have a cool day and thanks for reading.