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Cecelia Martinez
Cecelia Martinez

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What is your speaker mission statement?

How many of you have a speaker mission statement? Whether you are a regular speaker due to the nature of your job (looking at you, DevRel folks) or if you only speak occasionally, I recommend spending some crafting a mission statement for why and how you speak to audiences.

What is a speaker mission statement?

About two years ago I came up with this idea, and it has helped me considerably with my approach to developer education. My mission statement is this:

Everyone who attends my talk will walk away with something actionable they can use right away to make their work easier.

It could be something technical like how to speed up mobile builds with caching, something more strategic like how to decide which testing approach to use or even a better understanding of the pros and cons of a larger concept like implementing automation. I always check my talk submission against my mission statement and make sure it passes the test before sending.

Yours could be something like:

  • Everyone who attends my talk will have fun while learning something new
  • Everyone who attends my talk will see first-hand live coding to gain deeper knowledge of how a tool or concept works
  • Everyone who attends my talk will hear thought-provoking insights to improve how they lead a team

Why a speaker mission statement is important

If you have a speaker mission statement, suddenly the process of writing abstracts becomes less overwhelming. It gives you clarity into what your goal should be, and over time it will also help you develop a specific style and niche as a speaker. This is true even if the topics you speak on vary wildly.

For example, I’ve talked about automated testing, open source, debugging, Vue, React, cross-platform mobile development, CI/CD, GitHub, tech careers — but with every talk, people can expect to walk away with something actionable that will make their developer experience better (hopefully 😅).

It also ensures that you get joy out of speaking, because it means the work that you are doing aligns with your values. Your speaker mission should reflect what you believe is important about why we get up on stage (or on webcam) and share knowledge. By giving talks that is in service of that mission, you are more energized and motivated by your work, which can help ease the risk of burnout.

Crafting your own speaker mission statement

If you aren’t sure where to start, consider these questions:

  • What are some of the best talks you’ve seen? What made them special or valuable to you?
  • What kind of impact do you want to have on your audience? Do you want to inspire, educate, entertain, or provoke discussion?
  • What do you uniquely bring to the table that you believe is important to share?

Your answers to these questions will help solidify your speaker mission statement. Remember, it doesn't have to be perfect right away. You can always revise it as you grow and evolve as a speaker.

What would you include in your speaker mission statement? Share in the comments below!

Top comments (3)

blackgirlbytes profile image
Rizèl Scarlett

I love this question. I think when I speak ..I aim to engage and educate.

ceceliacreates profile image
Cecelia Martinez

Yes! Those are both so important.

cartertucker profile image
Carter Tucker • Edited

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