Getting better at public speaking

I’m currently working to improve my public speaking, and I recently gave a talk on Digital Justice at Product Management Festival in Zurich. Afterwards, I asked a few people for some honest feedback, and jotted down how I felt I’d done. So this post is really a mini-retrospective with me reflecting on what went well and what I could do better next time.

I thought you might find it of passing interest also. With any luck, I’ll present better next time.

Very large screen + very small Jock

Very large screen + very small Jock

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44: A good picture can save 1,000 words

For those of us who are artistically challenged (read: crap at drawing), it can be daunting to contemplate the use of pictures over text to make a point. I’m a perfect case in point. For years I’ve been shamed by the gorgeous presentations by Macbook-toting designers. So I’ve resolved to change for the better.

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9: Everything benefits from a good start in life

I’m writing about one hundred things I’ve learned about being a product manager.

Don’t you find that it is always so hard to recover something that started badly?  Whether it’s a development project, a product launch, or a new starter in your team, you can be reasonably certain that each will benefit from a good start.

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7: Public speaking is as much about how you say it as well as what you say

I’m writing about one hundred things I’ve learned about being a product manager.

Closely related to presenting well is the art of public speaking.  While not everyone is thrilled at the prospect at standing up and speaking in front of colleagues or strangers, it is a skill that you can acquire.  As you become more proficient, you’ll be able to control your nerves better before a presentation and you may even come to enjoy it.  Here are some suggested tips:

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6: Good presentation skills are not the same as good PowerPoint skills

I’m writing about one hundred things I’ve learned about being a product manager.

It is inevitable that you will need to stand up and give a presentation at some point during your career as a product manager.  Some people dislike presenting more than others; that’s natural.  Whether you love or hate the sound of your own voice, try some of the following tips to ease some of the stress of presenting.

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3: Know your subject matter

I’m writing about one hundred things I’ve learned about being a product manager.

So much of being a product manager depends on successfully persuading and influencing others.  Whether you’re presenting your product strategy, presenting a business case to the Board or talking with your customers, you need to demonstrate a good knowledge of your products and market to ensure that you come over as authoritative and credible.  Continue reading