Make Your Voice Heard – Public Speaking Workshop on June 11 in Montreal

I’m delighted to be offering Make Your Voice Heard: A public-speaking workshop for beginners on June 11, in conjunction with Montreal All-Girl Hack Night. Shopify is sponsoring and hosting at their Old Montreal office. If you’re local, I hope to see some of you there.

Have you considered presenting at an event, but thought you didn’t know enough or felt like an impostor? Does the idea of speaking in front of a group set your knees quivering and your heart racing? Or maybe you’d like to speak, but aren’t sure how to come up with a good idea. During this hands-on session we’ll look at what’s stopping you from speaking – and explore how to move past your fears. We’ll delve into practical techniques for choosing a topic, writing a proposal, crafting presentation content, and making great slides. We’ll also look at common speaker mistakes and handling Q&A sessions.

The workshop aims to give women, non-binary, and other under-indexed people the skills and confidence to submit a talk, whether to a conference or smaller event.

Check out all the details and register.

Why Women Speakers Say No to Speaking & What Conference Organizers Can Do About It 

Melissa Kim and Jennifer Kim from the Women Talk Design speaker compendium have put together a practical list of steps that event organizers can take to counter some of the most common reasons women don’t speak at conferences. Check out part 1 and part 2 of their piece.

wide shot of room

Workshop With Montreal Girl Geeks at Google Montreal

I was invited to give a public-speaking workshop recently by Montreal Girl Geeks, a group with whom I’ve had a long and happy relationship, both as a speaker and attendee. There was only one catch — they asked if I could handle a much larger group than I was used to, since their events are super popular, regularly attracting 50+ signups. (Way to go, Girl Geeks!)

I was slightly trepidatious about the size, but my colleague Tammie Lister — who’d given the same workshop to larger groups before — shared with me some of her strategies, like breaking up into smaller circles for some of the hands-on exercises. A couple of weeks ago I also had the opportunity to attend a very large public-speaking workshop given by the authors of Present! A Techie’s Guide to Public Speaking, which gave me other ideas for handling a big group.

And it went just fine! The workshop was very interactive, and the participants had great ideas on everything from what stops people from speaking to the benefits of forging ahead. They brainstormed their own topic ideas, and each wrote up a pitch for a talk. Some were even inspired to submit their idea to an event as soon as possible!

The evening also felt like coming full circle, since Jill Binder, who co-ran the original speaker workshop for women in Vancouver that inspired this whole endeavour, happened to be in town and helped me with the group. We were very warmly hosted by Azi Vaziri at the Google Montreal office, who even provided food so folks wouldn’t be hungry coming straight to the event after work.

Thank you Montreal Girl Geeks for the opportunity to help a new crop of public speakers get inspired and get speaking!

Photos courtesy Montreal Girl Geeks and Jill Binder.

Tech Lady Speakers

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.

tech lady speakers

Women in Tech Directory

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!

Workshop at AdaCamp Montreal

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.

Photos (cc 2.0) by Eva Blue. See more of her photos from AdaCamp Montreal.