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Can’t shut me up: A year for public speaking

Speaking @ The Blogger Relations Forum 2011

I like to think I put a lot of time into learning and trying new things. I’m a curious person and I try to challenge myself professionally. One skill I’ve always been a bit jealous of is excellent public speaking.

I went to my first HOBY (Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership) conference as an ambassador my sophomore year of high school. They brought in amazing motivational speakers (awesome guys like Leon Quan) that not had the room laughing and then minutes later we would all have tears running down our faces.  I loved the way they told stories, and drew you in to build that trust in such a short amount of time. I also loved the core messages they shared at conference like HOBY. They had substance and meaning. These speakers made you feel like you could conquer the world. You took their message and somehow could apply it to your own life.

I’ve had opportunities to present and speak publicly off and on since that HOBY weekend. However, it wasn’t until last year that I decided I wanted to work on it more formally. I set some goals for myself in terms of setting up opportunities to speak publicly. I spoke at an event I organised in front of about 80 people and last month spoke at fastBREAK in front of 50+ smart people in one room (see the video from that talk). It was a step outside my comfort zone. I felt the fear and did it anyway. That can be really rewarding. It felt like a move in the right direction, but now I’m hungry for more.

I want this year to be a year that I focus on my public speaking skills. I’m going to look for more opportunities to speak. Honestly, I just need to practice more. I am also going to research joining a local Toastmasters chapter.  My last boss, and mentor Lewis always spoke very highly of Toastmasters and said it really made an impact on his public speaking skills. If you have any experiences with joining a chapter in Sydney, I’d really like to hear from you.

If you have any upcoming events that you need a speaker for, please let me know. I’m happy to come along and practice. I promise I’m not that awful, and you can help me get even better friends.

Have you taken steps have you taken to improve your own public speaking? Any advice to offer? 

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