A Programmer's Guide to Public Speaking

. 1 min read

Every developer can be a great public speaker.

I am a shy and introverted software engineer, and I used to be absolutely terrified of public speaking.

So of course it made sense to choose stand-up comedy as a hobby. I was so afraid that at my first ever gig, my leg froze and I had to awkwardly hop to the microphone!

I have been performing stand-up, improv, and sketch for 12 years now. I have learned to feel confident on stage, and you can too.

With a few small tweaks, you can dramatically improve as a public speaker. I shared my strategies at the Sydney Ruby on Rails meetup this month. I spoke about how to communicate with any audience, how stand-up comedians deal with hecklers, and common mistakes to avoid. Click here to view the slides.

To master any programming language, we study design patterns and adopt style guidelines. Public speaking can be learned in the same way. I view design patterns as scaffolds and starting points for ideas, and style guidelines are rules that should almost always be followed.

Public speaking is a learnable skill

I love public speaking (and you can too)
Why public speaking seems hard

Design patterns

Know your audience. What's in it for me?
Start in the middle
Dealing with hecklers

Style guidelines

Be incredibly excited
Be mindful of hands and feet

How to improve

How to improve at public speaking

Photo by Waranont (Joe) on Unsplash.