Many of my human skills have atrophied after years in front of a computer so this was a chance to improve. It was also a reason to visit Brighton, a lovely place and hub of the UK’s web design community. I enjoyed having a peek into the Clearleft workspace.
Andy is a brilliant speaker as well as an excellent designer and teacher. His CSS Mastery book helped me in the early days of web standards.
Each participant gave small presentation on a subject of interest to us. I spoke about ‘why everyone should draw’. Andy led a group discussion following each one and provided feedback. The group was supportive and it was easy to find things to like about each speaker and their talks.
This was followed by a series of exercises, reading the Lewis Carroll poem Jabberwocky out loud, over and over again. Andy direct this by breaking down emphasising different parts: volume, pitch, speed and using our whole bodies to convey the story. I found increasing volume tricky.
We then repeated our presentations. The second time I give the talk it felt natural and authentic.
My takeaway points.
The audience does not feel your nerves as much as you do. They’re rooting for you, and want to you to #win. They will forgive you.
Get to know the room in advance. It’s ok to take up space.
Public speaking as a learned skill. Improvements come with a practice.
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