And no, the answer is not because you want to be a Microsoft MVP.
Multiple surveys have been published over the decades that list “fear of public speaking” as one of people’s top fears. Some are even more afraid of this than death. Yet, public speaking is a skill we all need. Allow me to take a moment to explain why.
You Are On Stage All The Time
You may not think so, but you are tasked with a lot of public speaking as part of your job if you’re in IT. Seriously. You constantly do it. Don’t believe me? Allow me to ask a few questions.
Have you in the last couple of months tried to convince the boss to implement a process change or adopt a new technology?
Recently did you need to sit down with a co-worker and walk them through some code or teach them how to do backups?
Have you had to explain to your team the results of a brainstorming session?
If you answered yes, to any of these, then you’ve been practicing public speaking already. Because, yeah, the skills you need to stand up in front of 10 people, or 10,000, are not radically different from standing in front of three, explaining why your new backup strategy is going to better protect the data.
You are literally on stage all the time. You are constantly giving small presentations. Yeah, maybe slides were not involved. Maybe you didn’t have to drill down too much on the code. But the same set of skills will get you up on a stage, where, believe it or not, it’s easier than presenting to your team, boss, or a co-worker.
So, learning about these skills, some ways to improve them, methods for practicing, and a few tips and tricks in general, is not going to hurt your career.
I Have a Plan
Here’s what you do. Plan on attending DataMinds Connect in a couple of weeks in Belgium, October 10th & 11. There, track me down. I’m going to be presenting a session titled “Why You Should Be Standing Here: Learning to Present a Session” where I talk, at length, about the skills & practices you need to put together a decent presentation (note, I didn’t say great, you’ll have find a better source than me for great).
You’re doing presentations all the time. Let’s make ’em better.