Hello there!, If you have opened this article I assume that either you are a good speaker in my friends/followers list where I shared this and want to randomly check my write up or you are like "past me" who always wanted to get rid of stage fear, appear on stage, give a talk on something but have tons of hesitations.
Let me assume the latter, because I am going to write a series of posts under the title "Speaking at tech conferences - From zero to hero" to help the people who want to give a talk in tech conferences.
This blog series will make them get started, move one step at a time and finally become an above average speaker.
Oh, yes "above average" speaker because, me being just an "above average" speaker I can't make my readers the best speaker in the world, in fact I am also learning that and still figuring it out.
But hey, I can surely make you get started from zero. Becoming a hero? I assure you will figure it out by the end of the last chapter in this blog series. Even if you want to end up being the best speaker and not just an above average one, you can make use of this blog series.
Because to be best at something you have to start at zero, become average, then above average and one day the best. Thats how the world works, jumping from zero to the best works only on movies.
I am not an expert, how can I give a talk?
I have stage fear.
What if I get stuck while talking on the stage?, people will think something about me.
I want to give a talk, but I don't have much time to prepare.
My proposals to the conference are getting rejected.
I am an introvert, how do you expect me to give a talk?
I got bad critics on my first proposal/talk, I am not gonna do it anymore.
All these sounds familiar?, Even If you can relate to any one of the above phrases, don't worry you are not alone. Before I started to speak at conferences, I had these hesitations too.
Let me start with a story, my story, the story where I took a risk to get rid of my stage fear.
During my school days, I've always had stage fear. As usual like any other school, there will be many competitions and events happening in my school. It could be a sport like football to an art like drawing competition.
I will actively participate in all the events, except one - Elocution Contest. Its a contest where you will be giving a speech about some topic on stage in front of everyone and you will be evaluated by your grammar, pronunciations, gesture and stance.
I was able to write good essays with decent grammar and all, but reading them in front of hundreds of people?. That was kind of a big deal to me.
I wanted to mitigate my fear, make it go away so that I can boldly stand before a crowd and deliver my content.
Before that, to get started I felt it's difficult to directly go join an elocution contest and throw myself in front of 100s of people and few juries.
My brain was so hesitant about that. So, I decided to slightly hack my brain making it to think that I will be less embarrassed even if I fail on the stage but If it goes well I will get rid of my stage fear.
One day, my class came up with a plan for a skit. I thought this is a right chance to get involved, taking a step to tackle my stage fear. But what if I fail on stage?, what if my class mates laugh at me?.
I had these hesitations, then I overcame them, showed up on the stage along with other people and did my part. How I got rid of my initial hesitations?. I knew it is a comedy show, if I perform well they gonna laugh, if I fail miserably, my friends and classmates are gonna laugh at me.
Either way they are going to laugh at me and I convinced myself that it is not making a big difference as at the end of the day people are going to laugh at us. I took that risk, I showed up there, performed and people laughed at me.
I did not know the real reason what made them to laugh, I didn't care much about that. The point here is I took a step to tackle my stage fear.
Later, It gave me some confidence to show up at science expos and explain my project in front of the crowd. Those were the baby steps I took during school days to overcome fear of public speaking.
You may like this story or not, it might sound good or lame. But I am going to help you to take your first baby steps towards becoming a good public speaker. To be specific, a good speaker in the tech conferences.
See you in next chapter. Oh before I go, I told I will help you to get started on the "How" part of speaking at conferences. You can go read this post if you want to know "why" you need to speak at tech conferences.