Benchmark 5: Things I Learned About Public Speaking

Reading Time: 2 Minutes Beyond

This week I gave a speech to member of the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce and others on social media. It was called “How I Went From Social Networking Manager to Cartoon.” I was nervous, but everything went smoothly and all of the attendees were very complimentary. I learned a lot too. Here are Benchmark 5: Things I Learned About Public Speaking.

  1. Stick with universal truths. I figured I would get a few laughs from my Ask Andy videos. I wasn’t as sure that the others would land. I made a joke about knowing what your ex was doing thanks to Facebook … and included my ex’s engagement photo. It killed. I also discussed how I probably learned more skills I apply to social media at the bar in college, than I did my classes. Tons of laughs. Those are experiences almost everyone can relate to and that’s why the jokes succeeded.
  2. Put your audience at ease. My parents still don’t understand what I do for a living. I knew the audience I would be speaking to would probably be around the same age. I sought to drive home the point that I was never educated in social media. I learned as I went and certainly made a few mistakes along the way. It instilled confidence in their own social media abilities and made them feel OK about any lack of experience they may have.
  3. Gauge their knowledge. For my speech, I wanted to talk about the best practices of social media. I skipped over going through the glossary of social media terms. That was a mistake. Not everyone in our audience knew what a hashtag or retweet was. Once I realized that I made sure to explain what I was talking about any time I used some jargon.
  4. Always leave time for a Q & A. My speech ran 45 minutes itself. My audience had plenty of questions afterwards too. We were forced to cut the questions short after 15 minutes. I can’t imagine where I would have left the audience had they not had the opportunity to have some of the questions addressed.
  5. Examples for every point. I hadn’t anticipated needing to explain hashtags, so I didn’t have an example. Since there was no wifi where I was giving the presentation, I couldn’t pull up Twitter to show them. Prepare an example for any point you wish to make. A visual always helps drive it home.

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