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Twenty-five years ago, I had my first experience with public speaking when I followed in my sister’s footsteps and joined the high school debate team. The first time I stood up in front of my class and presented my argument I was sure I was going to cry, and I was also sure everyone in the room knew I was going to cry. However, four years later, I couldn’t imagine not doing public speaking.
Fast forward several years after college, I was looking at a conference line up for a conference in town. I saw one of my coworker’s names as a speaker. After talking to him, I quickly realized that conferences will let Average Joes (or Nates in this case) talk. I signed up for a 1/2 day workshop on OpenRasta. After that experience, I was hooked. That was in 2011 and since then I’ve spoken at least one or two conferences every single year.
I try to encourage folks to give talks at meet ups and conferences, because in my experience, it’s provided me with some very real benefits. For one, someone at one of my talks recommended I check out Pluralsight, and so in the last 3+ years I’ve been able to create courses for them. Additionally, by going to conferences, I’ve learned a lot about technology. Some of that is from listening to talks, but a lot of it is from the networking I’m able to do with other speakers. And really, that’s a benefit on it’s own. I now have a wide network of people across the industry that I know that are doing cool things, and if I have a question, I can reach out to them.
In the summer of 2017, Sarah Withee and I started the #SpeakerConfessions hashtag on twitter that got seasoned speakers sharing their thoughts, concerns, fears and dreams.
I’d love to talk to you about how to get started, what makes a good conference talk, how to write an abstract, or really any other speaking related concerns you might have.