Being a First-Time Speaker at FinCon: An Awesome Experience
The following is a guest post by Crystal Stemberger at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff. She spoke at the 2012 Financial Blogger Conference about the planning needed if you want to take the leap into self-employment.
I am not a public speaker. In fact, other than some presentations in a couple of college classes and my general ability to talk nonstop without seeming to breathe, I thought I was the most unqualified person ever to speak to a group. Especially at a conference filled with super intelligent people looking to learn. But it actually worked out really well despite a few bumps along the way.
Planning a Session
I did not want my presentation to suck. In fact, almost every speaker I talked to said the same thing. Our biggest worry was that our own presentation was going to flop. The secret is that you are definitely your own worst critic, so step number one to public speaking is to put your self-consciousness to the side and just do it. Submit your idea and see what happens. Worst case really is wanting to participate but doing nothing at all.
Step number two was to figure out exactly what I wanted to cover about planning for self-employment. Then I needed to create a PowerPoint show that would help my speech–I didn’t just want some slides to click through; I wanted a way to drive my speech and a few little joke pictures for extra humor. In general, be interesting and you win in the public speaking arena. I wasn’t a JD Roth or anything, but the 15 people in my room didn’t look bored.
Things to Remember
Now that you know not to create a boring presentation (which is a bit obvious), here are a few things that completely slipped my mind:
- If you are selected to speak, you will need more than the general idea of what you wanted to talk about. You will have 20-25 minutes to talk. Please pick a topic that you already know tons and tons about.
- Bring cough drops! I was slotted in on Saturday. I landed in Denver on Wednesday. I already mentioned that I naturally talk too much. Do the math. Between the dry Denver air, general dehydration because I was a doofus in a mile high city, and my throat being used more in 3 days than it was used all month, I sounded like a frog the morning of my speech. Thank you so much to Kylie Ofiu for cough drops! I will be packing a bag of them myself this year.
- Don’t be let down if you aren’t the most popular kid on the block. We all think we are the center of the world sometimes, but nothing pops a big head like seeing your room empty out right before your speech because the person before you was more popular.
Overall, speaking at the conference should be a fun experience. You can help people learn about something you know. You can be the center of attention for half an hour. You can let yourself shine. Don’t psych yourself out. Just buck up and submit your idea. And good luck!
Watch Crystal’s presentation from FinCon12 below:
And you can follow along with her PowerPoint slides here: