Is the title too blasty for the event report? Why not!
Guten Tag! It's Mai from Classmethod (Europe) from Berlin.
Last Friday I joined a Public Speaking workshop that was hosted by Women Techmakers. I really learned a lot! In this article I will write a brief summary of what happened and how the event played out.
So, with that being said, let's check out some of the tips that were shared during the workshop.
By the way, that same evening there was a Christmas party in Mindspace!
Stollen, Gebrannte Mandeln, Lebkuchen, Glühwein, all these german delicacies really got me into the Christmas spirit! ;) If you have no idea what Mindspace is, you can read this short article!
Before we go over the contents, let me first briefly introduce the host.
For more information, you can check out their Meetup group: Women-Techmakers-Berlin
10 Tips of Public Speaking
In the workshop, two guest speakers gave us their excellent tips for speaking in front of people. Bianca Praetorius, an actress & a pitch trainer and Tim Messerchmidt, Developer Relations team at Google Germany. If you would like to know more about them or the event's agenda, visit the meetup page.
Since I can't write their whole presentations, I'm going to simply share 10 of the tips with you!
1. The First 5 Minutes
(Or even the first few seconds!) are very important. The audience will decide their listening attitude toward your talk through their first impression of you. Therefore, you don't want to ruin your whole presentation with a photo of yourself in the perfect posture or with your amazing history. You don't need these impressive features, unless they are related, or essential to your talk.
Going up on stage with Bon Jovi songs, starting with catchy titles like "20 Things People Should Do" (as this article), or starting with inspiring quotes might also be a good way to "hack" the listeners' mind.
2. Do Body Language
Body language is a fundamental tool in helping the audience focus on your talk. Bianca explained that you could use body language as a means for orchestrating rhythms to go along with your presentation. Release the palms of your hands, then your body is smart enough to start moving in the appropriate way with your talk.
Exaggerate your body movements, or make certain gestures bigger than normal. Of course in a one on one conversation this might feel awkward, but on a stage, it actually looks pretty natural.
3. Use Space For Your Story
Most people don't realize that they are actually staying in a small space during the presentations. An insightful tip was to do as dancers do, which is to change topics by changing your position.
For instance, you can imagine the right half of an area as "poisoned", so when you talk about negative stuff you can step in that area. It helps listeners to memorize your story better.
4. Change Your Tone of Voice
A relaxed voice can make your talk more authentic, and the audience will pay more attention to your story. On the other hand, lively expressions cal also appeal to an audience and your talk will sound more impressive. There are trade-offs. The key take away is to understand the effect that your tone of voice will have, and change it accordingly.
5. Control Your Smile
Smiling is important, but you shouldn't use it to hide your fear. You should always be conscious of the delivery of your content and use your facial expressions to make your points appropriately.
Eliminate the mindset that people are looking at you and judging you!
6. Make Eye Contact
Don't be afraid to make eye contact with your audience. Making eye contact helps you look more confident and helps make your talk sound valuable. Try your best to hold eye contact with each person for 2-5 seconds. This gives the impression that you are calmly looking at them.
7. Follow a Drama Structure
Almost all dramas, and narratives follow this pattern. If you learn this well and integrate in into your story, the results of your talk will be quite superb.
Also, check out this glorious template that Tim shared for story making.
In a world... There was... But then... And then... Until... Finally, ...
8. Prepare Your Setup
No matter how good your talk is, terrible slides could make it sound and look rubbish. You don't want a main title to be cut out of your slide, or for important info to be missed due to letters that are too small, do you? Here are some important things to check in advance:
- Make the size/color of letters readable in the background
- Allow your slides to have thick margins. Around 20% from the edge of the slide, and try to display your content within the middle 80% of the slide
9. Rehearse Your Talk
Grab your colleagues, or friends and have them listen to your talk. You will not only be able to easily find bugs in your slides, but you can also generate more confidence this way. Rehearsing can help you feel more relaxed on the stage. Perhaps your colleagues might even give you out-of-the-box ideas that you never thought of!
10. Finish Your Talk
Take your time to wrap up. If you see that your time is almost up, you might want to skip the summary that you've prepared. However, it is very important to make your talk memorable. Therefore, if this happens don't be upset. Just take your time to finish.
After the presentations by Tim and Bianca, two of the attendees took the challenge to present short pitches. Anamika was the bravest one who had prepared the keen slides and showed us her awesome example.
How Tech and Women in Berlin
It's well-known that the number of women in tech industry is considerably lower than the number of men. Normally you can find only a few women, even in these photos from this article of AWS Transformation Day 2017 Cologne.
I found this to be the situation in both Japan and Germany, so it's a really good thing that there are many Meetup events like this in Berlin. Whether you're into tech or not, it's always fun to explore them and try approaching new people! At this event, the atmosphere was pretty homey and it felt like a safe environment to speak out :)
As a woman techmaker, I do operational services on the AWS platform at Classmethod (Europe).
We also provide migration onto AWS, introductory support of applications on AWS, AWS operational support, consultation in cost-effective model of AWS, development with Alexa, as well as localization in Europe/Japan and translation support.
For more detailed information and/or inquiries, please contact us via our inquiry form on our website!