A few years ago, at an engineering conference, we sat round a table drinking beers and swapping stories. Mike Bourland mentioned a common question people had after he got up on a huge stage for a company presentation to a large audience. “Mike, how could you do that so well, weren’t you nervous?” His response “Well, I’ve been playing music in bars and honky-tonks for 15 years. I’ve had a lot of practice.” As not everyone has the musical talent that affords practice on stage, I wanted to share another place that provides practice in public speaking. During my training- Presenting Technical Content with Confidence, I recommend practicing your presentation. Now practice comes in many forms. The path we walk today explores becoming more comfortable talking in front of people and talking. This is a less formal means— go teach someone something you know about. And I believe the more tangential the topic is to your day job the better. Teaching builds confidence in public speaking As advocated on a previous walk- teaching someone is part of growing others one of the four attributes for an engineer’s career development. Teaching presents a means of developing communication and relationship skills. For now let’s stay on the trail for a simplest aspect of communication-- being comfortable talking in front of a group.
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