If you’re planning a tech event in Montreal, there’s a new resource to help you find more women speakers. Introducing: Tech Lady Speakers. Created by a group of women interested in diversifying the gender balance among speakers at tech conferences, the site also includes pointers on making women feel comfortable at your event.
German public speaker Lena Reinhard has compiled a wide-ranging guide to preparing and writing a tech-conference talk. Her compendium of tips and resources is packed with useful information for anyone getting started with — or delving further into — public speaking, from techniques for coming up with topics, to advice on crafting an outline and research, all the way through dealing with feelings like stress, nervousness, or imposter syndrome. Check it out.
An attendee of our Montreal public-speaking workshop last fall, Belinda Darcey wrote an excellent piece outlining all the benefits she’s seen after her first solo WordCamp talk: “Beyond UX: Designing for Delight.” From making all kinds of connections to receiving unsolicited recommendations, her talk has already brought all kinds of rewards. Be sure to check out the moment of “whoa” and moment of “uh-oh!”
Quibb founder Sandy MacPherson – a self-described “Canadian marooned in Silicon Valley” – is putting together a directory of women in tech. If you work in the technology sphere and are “interested in and/or are actively speaking at conferences, appearing on panels, contributing to articles, joining podcast discussions, etc.” head over and fill out the brief form to be included: http://bit.ly/w2s_surv
Make your voice heard!
I had the opportunity recently to attend AdaCamp Montreal, an “unconference” devoted to increasing women’s participation in “open technology and culture,” from Wikipedia to open-source software. While attendees were brainstorming ideas for potential sessions and workshops on the mailing list a few weeks before the event, I had a flash that this would be the perfect place to run a workshop for women thinking about getting into public speaking or wanting to improve their presentation skills. The 2.5 hour workshop time slot was perfect, so when it came time to pitch ideas on the first day of AdaCamp, I went for it.
On April 14, I ran the workshop for a group of women with varying levels of public speaking experience. They shared what’s stopped them – from feeling too busy to lack of confidence – and brainstormed the benefits of giving presentations – from being seen as an expert in your field to serving as a role model for other women. Each participant wrote up a pitch for a presentation, and they shared constructive feedback on each others’ proposals. We looked at what makes great slides, common mistakes that new speakers make, and how to handle challenging question-and-answer sessions. I had a chalk board available for the first time giving this workshop, and I took full advantage of it – fun and useful!
I look forward to seeing what these women do next in the public-speaking world.
Jordan Saniuk is a colleague of ours at Automattic, and was a participant at our Montreal public-speaking workshop last fall. He’s written a great post about his first experience as the invited guest speaker at an event, including some practical tips on overcoming a fear of public speaking. Check it out!