I used to hate public speaking; I still do but I used to too (apologies to Mitch Hedberg).  But as I have spent less of my work time building and deploying software and more of it sharing why and how software is built and deployed, I've needed to get better at communicating to a room, or Zoom, full of people.

So, as it's something I must do I've tried to learn how to be better at it which helps make me feel more comfortable and even sometimes enjoy it. The single most helpful resource I've ever come across as I worked on that was this lecture given by Patrick Winston at MIT. It's entertaining, interesting and offers insights and tips on how to give a good presentation while giving a great presentation. A couple of choice snippets that I always try to remember:

  • Tell people what they're going to know at the end of your talk that they didn't know at the beginning of your talk
  • Cycle over your subject to make sure you cover it clearly
  • Ask questions of your audience
  • Sum up information within your talk sometimes to help listeners re-engage
  • Questions are the worst way to end a talk
  • Don't start with a joke

I considered trying to sum up the video in this blog post but honestly there's so much that's useful I would never do it justice and it's actually a very entertaining watch. Instead, I'll advise that you invest an hour of your life watching the video and in return, to quote from that video:

By the end of the next 60 minutes, you'll have been exposed to a lot of ideas, some of which you'll incorporate into your own repertoire, and they will ensure that you get the maximum opportunity to have your ideas valued and accepted by the people you speak with.

If you visit the MIT OpenCourseWare page which has the video available to watch or download plus transcripts and more.  

How to Speak | How to Speak | Supplemental Resources | MIT OpenCourseWare
This page includes the full How to Speak video recorded in January 2018, along with related content and commentary
MIT OpenCourseWare: How to Speak

Alternatively, you can watch the video on youtube.

Is a hippopotamus a hippopotamus... or a really cool opotamus?
- Mitch Hedberg