Sunday, September 28, 2008

public speaking 101

This past Friday I attended the Startup Princess Touchpoint conference as both an entrepreneur looking for inspiration, motivation and networking and also as a speaker on the "Raising a Family While Running a Startup" panel. Though I can fake it pretty well, public speaking is not my forte. On the other hand my husband can get up in front of a group without notes he's typed word for word (that would be me).

If you have an upcoming opportunity to speak in front of a group and you feel a little overwhelmed check out NewspaperGirl's "Tips for Public Speaking," an article where Janet Meiners interviewed Jason Alba, CEO of Jibber and summarized his points on public speaking. I love this post because it's short and sweet and the tips are easy enough to implement. My two favorites:

  • "Never apologize for yourself. You are the expert (even if you don't think you are). ..." This is a good one for a lot of us to remember. I think we all too often--and I think I was even guilty of this on Friday--apologize for what we feel are our inadequacies. We need to give ourselves a little more credit!
  • "... Give short answers." I found out on Friday that a panel is made up of a variety of personalities. If you choose to answer a question, make your answer short and to the point so others on the panel can offer their two cents. I'd like to add "make sure you actually answer the question." It could be my Type A personality but whether in an audience or on a panel I always get a little frustrated when someone's answer, complete with anecdotes, never really answers the original question. The test? You find yourself silently asking, "What was the question again?"
The full post is definitely worth a read. Not too long, not too short, just the right amount of info. You can read Tips for Public Speaking on NewspaperGirl's blog. --Emily


Susie said...

Ever since I was born, I have loved public speaking. Apparently, I have a lot to say and I want a lot of people to hear it. I guess that's why I like blogging so much:-)

Kelly King Anderson said...

Emily, you were fabulous, relaxed and fun to listen to. I really liked example of how ineffective it is to be half listening for emails to come in while playing with cars...good for you to even be playing with cars, usually I let my kids play with each other while I'm busy doing things..but you're absolutely RIGHT, if we split our attention we're ineffective and ultimately our kids know if we're focused on them or not!!

Regarding answering questions you're right... you have to summarize the question in your answer so the audience remembers what is being asked and get right down to it, particularly in a panel setting because more than one person wants a stab at it. You did very well in your role, no worries.

Are we going to see you at the retreat? I hope so!! :)

thanks for bringing Amber, I really like her and her biz!

the girls of gt said...

Thank you for your kind words, Kelly. It was a great day! Amber and I had an enjoyable time, learned much and got motivated to do more with our businesses. That's what a Startup Princess conference is all about! ;)