At the MaineTUG we've been doing "Tableau Conference round-ups" in the meetings following each conference where several attendees take a couple-few minutes each to talk about a highlight of the conference, a favorite announced new feature, and/or a Tableau tip they learned. And each year it's a bit like pulling teeth to get enough people to speak, even for a couple of minutes, and I believe a whole part of the reason why is that many people don't like public speaking. Jerry Seinfeld put it really well:
So I'm wondering if you can suggest any good resources or tips for making public speaking easier? I'm actually thinking I could put together a TUG presentation on this since so many of us have to do some amount of public speaking as part of our regular jobs when presenting analyses, showing off the dashboards we've built, etc.
Just to start, here are two quick tips from my own experience:
1) Practice makes perfect. My nervousness about public speaking is generally in direct proportion to how well practiced I am with the material I'm going to talk about (no matter the complexity of the material). For example if I'm practiced in a presentation something goes wrong with the hardware then I can easily adjust and keep on going with the presentation, whereas if I'm not practiced and something goes wrong then I start tripping over myself and the whole thing falls apart.
2) The imaginary & invisible audience vs. the real audience. When I think about public speaking I can get caught up in imaginations of an audience that is full of experts who know the topic better than me who are ready to criticize and judge every thing I do and tell me everything I'm doing wrong, which is pretty much everything I might do! So that's my invisible audience and they basically impossible to please! But the invisible audience isn't real. If and/or when I take a moment and acknowledge my own fear & shame and check in with what other parts of my brain knows the real audience will actually be I can remember that the real audience is made of:
- actual human beings who are interested in what I have to say
- who aren't necessarily experts (because if they were they wouldn't need to see my talk)
- who like most all human beings want things to go well for everyone, including me
- and who might not be strangers, in fact the reverse, they might be friends who are there to support me so I don't have to face my audience (invisible or actual) all alone
What are yours?