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.

People Talking WordPress Workbook Available

Members of the Vancouver WordPress community – Jill Binder, Vanessa Chu, Mandi Wise, and Kate Moore Hermes – recently ran another workshop to encourage and empower women interested in getting into speaking at events like meetups and WordCamps.

Their original workshop was the inspiration for the one we developed, and some of our material is included in the free PDF workbook the Vancouver folks have put together. It includes exercises on choosing a talk topic and writing a proposal, tips on creating great slides, and advice on becoming a better speaker, and handling post-talk Q&A. Check it out!

People Talking WordPress