public speaking 101 (also known as a guide for the nervous)

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As I wrote about earlier, I’ll be heading out to San Francisco to speak at Pinterest’s Knit Con. My session will last around forty-five minutes and I’ve realized that I’ve never spoken for so long on one specific topic.

I choose this picture from Unsplash because I’m hoping that I’m able to talk while sitting in a nice, comfy chair. That way, my session will feel less formal and more conversational. We’ll see if I get a chair…

Thankfully, I do have experience with public speaking. I used to volunteer as a youth leader at my church (which means I spoke in front of a group of forty students every week for a year) and I even shared during a Sunday morning service a handful of years ago. From those experiences, I know that planning ahead and practicing far in advance is paramount.

One of my friends who is a local news-anchor reached out with some advice. She had this to say:

“Keep your message CLEAR. Be sure to have a clear take home message/theme. {It’s also a good idea) to bullet point your speech. Don’t write it {all} out. Instead, use trigger/sight words that jog your memory as to the next point you want to make.“

I’ve started jotting down ideas, but I don’t have anything super solid yet. I do know that my main point is something I’m really passionate about and I hope that will help me communicate with more clarity and conviction. I don’t want to come off as arrogant, but this idea of using the Internet to create offline experiences is what I’m all about. It’s not something I simply believe in, it’s something I’ve structured my entire life around. As my friend Amy says, “You are the table.”