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Five reasons to be a technology speaker

I don’t think everyone should be a technical speaker.

But I wouldn’t object if everyone spent a season trying.

Why be a technology speaker?

Simply put:

  1. You learn more about your subject.
  2. You will learn more about presenting yourself, which is good in general (and especially good for interviewing).
  3. You should give back to a good community.
  4. You will have a unique perspective on your topic.
  5. Being a speaker is excellent for networking. (Networking turns out to mean, “Getting to know people, which often ends in mutual benefit.”)

How do I start?

This is one path to it:

  1. Listen to other technology speakers, whether at your job, at a user group, at a virtual UG, or elsewhere.
  2. Pick something to talk about that is interesting to you. Flesh out what you want to say about it. This will involve research.
  3. Give the talk out loud to a friend or family member, or to a recording device. Get feedback.
  4. Ask someone in the field for advice. There’s a ton of us on Twitter you can ask. Incorporate feedback, and repeat step 3.
  5. Give the talk at a local user group. I highly recommend in person talks over virtual to new speakers, because virtual talks are more difficult and nerve-wracking, in my opinion.

Notice I said nothing about PowerPoint or technical demonstrations. Your talk might include neither, or one, or both. But that’s not the critical part of the talk. The critical part is what you have to say, followed by how you say it.

Want help? Email me, Jen at, or catch me on Twitter. I’ve been doing this a long time, and I can help. Lots of us can help.

5 thoughts on “Five reasons to be a technology speaker”

  1. Love this! Thanks for writing it.
    I’m putting together my talk, “Now Presenting; Presenting” for SQL Saturday DC to try to help give new speakers tips on presenting.

    I think it’s very valuable for folks to try to give a talk. I know every time I present on a new topic I learn a lot just in preparing for it!

    And at pretty much every SQL Saturday I’ve walked away with useful information.

    And I agree, it doesn’t have to be technical. One of my favorite talks is on why planes crash and what IT and management can learn from them.

  2. Jen, great points, especially #3. When I talk to people about getting involved in the community I tell them I volunteer because I’ll never be able to give back everything I have received.

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