Have you Power Posed?

blog02For many of us, public speaking is scary. Clammy palms, shaky legs and that freaky feeling that your mind just went blank and you don’t remember a word of what you wanted to say in front of your audience….sound all too familiar?

As it turns out, all these fears about public speaking are conquerable!  During the recent Women in Big Data meetup on November 17, 2016, following cocktail samosas, mini fruit tarts, a few handshakes and brief chit chats, we settled into our seats in the Intel auditorium to learn about Public Speaking from a true expert. Karen Catlin has some great tools in her public speaking toolkit, and she generously shared them with us.

The next 60 minutes were not what I expected: from Power posing to story-telling to tackling the eager beaver in the audience….it was all golden!  Here’s a brief summary of techniques you can use the next time you’re asked to speak:

  1. Meet & Greet. Make some friends in your audience before you go up on stage. Don’t sit in quiet corners and rehearse your lines; instead mix and mingle and shake some hands before you start presenting. A friendly face or two in the audience can be extremely comforting!
  2. Power Pose before you step in front of your audience (feel free to do this backstage…) Remember that victory pose that wining Olympians strike? Emulate that—it’s a real confidence booster!
  3. Tell a Story! Draw your audience with an engaging opening line or short anecdote. And don’t forget that technologies have a solid place in story-telling.
  4. It’s okay to crowd source the Q & A. You don’t have to know the answer to every possible question coming from the audience. Tapping into the collective knowledge of your crowd by asking them to chime in can make the session more engaging. (Just remember not to do this for every question!)

Personally, I will be putting these techniques to use at my next technical talk—whether it is in front of my team or at the next Strata event. Many thanks to Karen for these amazing tips! And a special thank you to Intel for hosting yet another awesome meetup for Women in Big Data.

Final thoughts: Public speaking can provide you with the visibility and professional credibility to score your next big opportunity. But even more important is the fact that it transforms the way you communicate. Improved confidence and the ability to convey messages clearly will impact your relationships with your managers, coworkers, customers, industry peers, and even potential new hires. If you're interested in learning more about public speaking and becoming a more confident communicator, please check out this eight-week online "Confident Communicator Course" http://femgineer.com/confident-communicator-course/

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About the speaker:
Karen Catlin is an advocate for women in the tech industry, a leadership coach, a TEDx speaker, and co-author of "Present! A Techies Guide to Public Speaking." A sought-after public speaker, Karen regularly gives talks at leading tech companies, conferences, and universities. Formerly, Karen was a vice president in the Office of the CTO at Adobe Systems. 

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About the blogger:
Radhika Rangarajan is a founding member of the Women in Big Data Forum. She is also a Senior Technical Program Manager at Intel, leading Open source Big Data and Advanced Analytics solutions.

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