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Bhumi
Bhumi

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Public Speaking for Developers

One my current missions in life is to teach (about software development). I know that writing is one way to do that. There are others ways to teach as well which involve speaking. Like talking out load in front of other people in real time.

That speaking thing is not in my wheelhouse. I think it is important to tackle this mostly because people learn in different ways. Some are happy learning by reading but others prefer audio, video, and other interactive ways of learning.

Have you gone from "I am introvert, leave me alone and let me code" to figuring it how you can get over yourself long enough to teach things to others. I can imagine there are different ways to go about it, progressive more effortful:

Recording screencasts
Recording videos
Speaking in front of a small classroom
Speaking at a conference type setting with large audience

It is matter of practice. When tackling a new skill, I believe in starting small and keeping things simple. Does anyone have any experience with any of the above or any other practical resources they'd recommend for practicing this new skill (for the sake of teaching).

Top comments (9)

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timrodz profile image
Juan Alejandro Morais • Edited on

I used to be very quiet (although not necessarily an introvert), had a difficult time speaking with people, and couldn't express my ideas properly. Now, I have spoken at local meetups, conferences and will be speaking again at a conference in April (~200 people in one room). I'd consider it a substantial improvement from who I was in past years.

What has worked for me?

  • Being genuine about my passions. What's my niche? Do I know something others don't? (Spoiler: yes, you do!)
  • Finding my strengths and weaknesses when communicating. In my case, I happen to be a fast speaker - This can make it hard for the audience to understand what I'm saying.
  • Practicing talks with other people (This can range from one person to a bigger group)
  • Much like tailoring your job applications, engaging storytelling is key to delivering a good speech - I read about the "STAR" method from Gayle McDowell's Cracking the Coding Interview book: Situation, Task, Action, Result, and started using it wherever possible. Learning and applying this method has had a major factor in my career success, from pitching ideas to explaining my thoughts further.
  • Addressing the elephant in the room: What do people think of me? / Am I being mocked, or not taken seriously?. You own your narrative. In cases like public speaking, how you see yourself (perception) will affect how you deliver a message. Don't let feelings of negativity (fear, bad judgement, mockery) tear you down.
  • Most importantly: Don't give up. I wish you all the best and hope you can achieve your goals! am personally routing for you, Bhumi.
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ncot_tech profile image
James

Indeed, and listen to yourself speaking. Listen out for things you say.

Are you someone who gabbles when talking, or says "err" or "umm" after every sentence?

Find the thing you do, that others will be distracted by and try to stop doing it.

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evieskinner18 profile image
Evie

Nice one Juan!

I would add to your point about Addressing the elephant in the room: What do people think of me? / Am I being mocked, or not taken seriously? . Sometimes I take the piss out of myself to kind of disarm any kind of vibe like that in the room! Good to have a laugh with your audience aswell 😁

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bhumi profile image
Bhumi Author

Thank you for sharing your experience and what has worked for you! I appreciate the detailed response and the words of encouragement!

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xanderyzwich profile image
Corey McCarty

Most of the people that i know who have done that started giving talks at local meetup and then wound up submitting those same presentations to conferences. Getting comfortable with the presentation can make it a lot easier (though still daunting)

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bhumi profile image
Bhumi Author

Thanks for the tip, meetups seem like a good venue for in person practice.

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ncot_tech profile image
James

I've been a computer science teacher for the past 12 years, and the things I've learnt are:

  • Speak slower
  • Use as few words as possible
  • Repeat yourself in different ways
  • Know your subject, so you don't need a script
  • Talking to a room of people, using a projector? At some point one day the projector will break on you, so don't rely on it entirely.
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bhumi profile image
Bhumi Author

All of these make sense and resonates with what I've heard. Thank you for sharing!

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evieskinner18 profile image
Evie

Another thing I would highly recommend is doing power poses before and during the talk. Opening up your body language physically reduces the amount of cortisol in your blood stream and increases the amount of testosterone, which gives you a bit of an edge 🚀 You can watch a crackin Ted talk about this by Amy Cuddy

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