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David Neal
David Neal

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Please, Give Public Speaking a Try

The fear of public speaking

When I talk to people about public speaking, I tell them of the opportunities it opens up to travel to fun places, and meet awesome people. I have had some amazing adventures in the last several years, all because I got up the courage to get up and speak to a bunch of geeks like myself.

I've done things like:

  • Soaked in an outdoor hot tub with snow falling on my face in Sandusky, Ohio
  • Sunned with my toes in the sand at Atlantic Beach, Florida
  • Scoped the beautiful Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina
  • Studied Norwegian history at the Norsk Folkemuseum in Oslo, Norway
  • Savored late night street food and laughs in Montevideo, Uruguay
  • Stood in awe and reverence in the Westminster Abbey in London, England
  • Strolled under a canopy of strange and beautiful trees in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia

...and so many more things that me-of-10-years-ago would have never dreamed of doing.

As awesome as all the places are, it's the people I've met, relationships that have formed, and experiences I've shared with friends and family that are the most precious.

Public speaking has made my world bigger, more colorful, and more accessible.

Make a Goal of Three

I love the feeling of helping other people in the community more than the anxiety caused by public speaking. It didn't take long for me to get hooked.

Give a lunch-and-learn talk at your company. Give a show-and-tell or short presentation at one of your local meetups. Talk about something you're learning, or something you like to geek out about.

If after three tries you're still not convinced, no harm done. You will have accomplished far more than most people. You'll also have new skills and knowledge that will continue to pay dividends going forward.

Who knows where it could take you?

Next Steps

Want some tips and secrets? Watch my presentation from Nodevember 2016.

Check out my Public Speaking Resources.

Need more evidence? Read Cory House's article, Public Speaking Transformed My Life... and Can Change Yours, Too.

Get out there and be awesome!

Top comments (2)

andy profile image
Andy Zhao (he/him)

I like the point about "Goal of Three." It reminds me of a good piece of advice I heard once, about making a new habit.

If you're learning a new habit, break it down into three parts. First, do it for three days in a row. Then, do it for three weeks in a row. Then, do it for three months. Now you've got the habit formed. After the three days, you're already a third of the way there!

Anyway, not exactly relevant, but it did remind me of it. :)

codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald

Best public speaking advice I ever received was from my communication professor, Lewis Watkins. He always said, "Great speakers and performers don't get rid of the butterflies in their stomach; they teach them to fly in formation." By that, he meant that we should funnel our nervous energy into giving a better presentation.

I agree, public speaking is FANTASTIC. I believe that every person should at least take a course in public speaking. Even if someone doesn't want to ever speak publicly again, the skills and knowledge gained from the course apply to so many areas of life.

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