Public Speaking

A few months back, I was doing some research on public speaking, and I stumbled on this short video of one of the world’s experts in public speaking Conor Neil. What I learned in the video changed forever the way I envision starting and finishing a talk.

Yes, there is a grownup way to say: Once upon a time…

Funny enough, I found a reference to Conor in a post from Michael Thompson which gave me the courage to send emails to people I don’t know to thank them for their great work. Something you may want to try!

Michael, the co-author of I am a Software Engineer and I am in Charge, told me that even when you are not keen on public speaking, you can always use the improvement to make an impact when the moments arise, like saying something poignant at a birthday party, or maybe setting the best tone possible when meeting someone new.

Speaking about meeting someone new, I recommend using the One-on-one Discovery technique and/or prepare The Story of Your Life in 5 words as recommend in the episode of the podcast Hidden Brain.

I think there are many ways to use public speaking skills beyond the fear laden speaking in front of 300 people that most people think about (well at least I do) when we utter the words “public speaking”.

Michael Doyle

You may need more to be convinced that you can excel at public speaking. What about you try the MIT Course in which Patrick Winston teaches How to Speak.

Then you can get to work on how your talk sound with Julian Treasure. His TED talk, How to speak so that people want to listen, has more than 45M views! In his talk, you will learn about: register, timbre, prosody, pace, pitch, and volume.

Once you learn from those world experts, you have to seize all the opportunities to practice. In the next meeting, the next internal lunch and learn, the next internal conference, maybe a meetup about something you are passionate about, or even submit your first talk? You can also join a local Toastmaster?

I experimented with the teaching from those world experts in the last talk I gave at the Tech Leadership Conference. Happy to hear your thoughts about what I should improve!


  • Alexis Monville

    Alexis Monville worked in multicultural and distributed environments for years, coming back from the US and now based in the southwest of France. When asked if he misses the work in the office, he usually answers that he spent half of his 30 years of management experience in diverse sectors outside of the office and a lot of that working from home. Alexis is Chief of Staff to the CTO at Red Hat, a long-time hybrid open-source software company with more than 100 office locations in 40 countries, where half of the 20,000 people work remotely. Alexis is a firm believer that change starts with the self. He is the author of two books: Changing Your Team From The Inside and I am a Software Engineer and I am in Charge. Alexis facilitates successful playful collaborations. He designs and builds sustainable and high-impact teams and organizations.

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