Two Links on Public Speaking

I get the opportunity to speak publicly on occasion. Usually at church. Today I must have public speaking on the brain because there are two links that have come in front of me today that I thought were worth sharing. Maybe it’s because one of my goals for 2013 is doing more professional public speaking…maybe it’s just a coincidence. Either way, I thought these were valuable.

First, Cameron Moll pointed me to this link from Idan Gazit on “Designing Presentations.” Giving a presentation at your place of employment vs. giving a talk to a professional group or a conference is a totally different thing. Oftentimes (probably detrimentally), when a PowerPoint or Keynote deck is created in the workplace, it is passed around sans context or in-person presentation. If this is the type of presenting you typically do, this article isn’t really for you. This is for those who want to give good talks to professional groups and conferences.

There are some great nuggets in this article, even though it is aimed mostly at developers.

Presenting is the art of directing attention. If you’ve done that skillfully, the transfer of ideas is almost automatic. If not, it doesn’t matter how good your ideas were, because nobody paid attention.

It’s a pretty long article, but a terrific one. Check it out.

Second, I was catching up on some back episodes of A Show with Ze Frank and came across this one:

how to public speaking

Ze is always compelling and what he has to say about public speaking is really insightful. In fact, there are a lot of things that he lists in there that I’m not doing that I need to incorporate to become a better speaker.

Since one of my goals for 2013 is to do more speaking at events, I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more stuff like this. In the meantime,

  • What are your favorite tips for public speaking?
  • If I gave a talk, what would you want me to talk about (the answer can’t be Oreos)?
  • Who are some of your favorite public speakers?

Why I Rarely Post Anymore

I think that might be because as the years passed, the Internet grew to be this behemoth that it is now and I began to question whether anything I was saying was original anymore. It probably wasn’t even way back in the day, but I was blissfully narrow-minded. Instead of writing just to write, I felt like anything I posted had to mean something and that became the biggest hurdle of them all.

I used to write on this blog a lot.

I wrote about stuff that I cared about: movies, music, design, Kansas City, politics, TV — pretty much anything that fancied me at the time.

I started this blog way back in 2004 as an outlet for my writing. It ended up being a place for me not only write, but also to connect with other great people in the KC blogging community. Many I have met and others I haven’t. Not because I didn’t want to, but because we never crossed paths.

Over the years, the frequency with which I posted faded. I got busier at work as my responsibilities changed and grew. I took on more stuff outside of work — church stuff, photography, professional development. And then I just kind of stopped posting altogether. Here and there, I’d put something up, but it never felt the same…like what I was saying had any substance.

I think that might be because as the years passed, the Internet grew to be this behemoth that it is now and I began to question whether anything I was saying was original anymore. It probably wasn’t even way back in the day, but I was blissfully narrow-minded. Instead of writing just to write, I felt like anything I posted had to mean something and that became the biggest hurdle of them all.

Putting a post together takes time. Or at least I think it does… Time is something that I rarely have. Before, I had time at work, time after work…I was flush with it. That’s just not the case anymore.

But then again, maybe I should just write for writing’s sake again and not worry about well-formed sentences or spelling or whatever. After all, that unedited, stream-of-consciousness journaling-like nature is what got me to 1000+ posts. There’s still this nagging feeling that my posts should mean something, but I don’t know why I’m so concerned about that considering I’ve put out more than 25,000 posts of 140 characters or less on Twitter and I would venture to guess less than 1% actually mean something.

I guess this feeling makes me think of An Invocation for Beginnings.

Lately I’ve been struggling a lot with motivation. A lot of different things are pulling for my attention and I don’t feel like I can spend enough time on any of them, so I spend very little time on all of them. And then I go into this shame spiral where I do the everything thing. And that’s just not very productive.

I don’t know what I’m trying to say here. Maybe I’m saying I’m going to post more and care less about it meaning something. Maybe I’m just making excuses. Maybe I just wanted to write again and I was able to carve out some time. I’m not promising anything will come of this.

I just wanted to get it out.

The Show

Several years ago, when I was still on the other side of 30 and Twitter didn’t even exist yet, there was a man named Ze Frank who created things on the Internet. One of the greatest things he ever did was a video podcast (back before it was called a video podcast) called The Show with Ze Frank.

Every day, he would post a new 5-7 minute video covering current events, pop culture…pretty much anything that entered his mind. He wrote songs. He made up new terms. He entertained and delighted his Sports Racer audience.

The Show lasted exactly one year, starting on March 17, 2006 and ending on March 17, 2007. I never missed it. In fact, I looked forward to each day around 3:00 when the new show would be posted. My friend Kevin and I would anxiously refresh our browsers until the new one showed its bug-eyed face. And we were rarely disappointed.

After The Show ended, Ze went on to do even more amazing things, posting web content for Time and speaking at conferences like TED.

Earlier this year, I heard about a Kickstarter campaign he was running to start another season of The Show. The Internet came through and now, he’s published his first video, something he’s calling, “An Invocation.”

I’m thrilled to see his face on the web again. Every day, he came through with a wonderful video that entertained and inspired through the monotony of a work day. His “Invocation” is a reminder of everything that was great about The Show — his cadence, his editing, his never-ever-ever-blinking, his writing. He’s really one of those things that make the web great.

I’m so excited that he’s putting on A Show. I hope that you’ll tune in too.