Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Becoming a Keynote Speaker

There's a few things very close to my heart. Public speaking - delivering talks and training sessions is one of them. It's an area where I have gone well beoynd my comfort zone, transforming myself into something I was not before.

20 years ago, I was afraid of doing presentations. I went through high school optimizing my writing to be as good as it could be, but just bad enough so that the teachers would not make me read them out loud. When I wanted to be in the board of my student union, I almost passed out in front of the audience just for having to introduce myself. Things are now different. I practice a lot to improve. And the end result already now is worth looking at.

I dream big. I dream of having a story worthy of a TED stage. I dream of being a regular invited keynote in software and testing conferences to an extent I have to say no. I dream of being a professional speaker who gets paid to speak. And I work towards this dream.

The work that I do is manyfold. It includes
  • being the best possible person in the projects where I work, contributing and learning. I want to be a great tester and a great software specialist, and work on that. I look for understanding to share through doing those things.  
  • delivering talks on things I want to talk about and that I think would be of value for others
  • studying what makes a great presenter, finding my own style to being great presenter as myself and practicing. 
I work with new presenters, learning from them as much as from anyone. I'm absolutely in support of the Speak Easy initiative, and I find that Speak Easy can also be a home of support for an aspiring keynote speaker.

To find more focus on my studies, I turned to a personal coach. She suggested that since the road I'm traveling is not just mine but there are other women aspiring to keynote eventually, we should set up a Mastermind group. It's not just people who want to keynote on testing, but any women looking into growing into more relevant speaking engagements. There's a strong tech flare to it, but we would welcome women on the path to speaking improvement and greatness. You could be an experienced speaker aspiring to become better, or you could be just starting but set on making fast progress.

Let us know of your interest on peer learning and support by filling in this doodle by Monday 5.10. The first session is just about discussing what we could do on peer support and what is a mastermind group.