Your topic is interesting! – Public Speaking #1

Recently I’ve hosted an Open Space session on finding topics and writing abstracts for conferences.

One of the participants remarked: “I’m not sure that anything I know would be interesting to other people. None of it is really new.”

I know that feeling. I’ve shared it. Sometimes still do. Not often anymore, though.

On most days I manage to say “Hogwash!” to that feeling, because your topic is interesting! Every single one of the 7 billion people out there? Nope. But for some people? You betcha!

Woman on stage
CC-BY Nan Palmero

Just pick a conference you’d like to go to and submit that talk. If it is not interesting – to this particular conference committee – they will decline. End of story. No harm done. All you’ve lost is a few hours for writing the abstract. And hey, you can totally re-use your material and submit it to another conf, so I wouldn’t even consider it lost, yet.

Not convinced? Well, if you’re unsure about public speaking, try it out in a smal setting (and in your native language!). What about a local meetup? Offer a talk to the organizers and pick a topic together with them. They can help you zone in on something interesting.

Even if it’s all been said before and better, people have not heard it from you. Your unique perspective, your challenges, your experiences and lessons learned.

Try it! Public speaking will get you to interesting places, meeting interesting people!

[Do I hear you say “But I’m not an expert. Other people know way more about it”? Stay tuned! I’ll cover that in my next post.]

PS: For statistics: I can think of a potentially interesting topic for about 90% of the conferences I’d like to go to. About 60% of my proposals are accepted. Because I often submit more than 1 proposal I get to talk at about 80% of all the confs I proposed for.

If you stick with this long enough (about 20 talks?), eventually others start to ask you to talk at their event, which feels really nice.

[Continue with Part #2 – You’re qualified to talk]