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Have you ever spoken at a conference? An un-conference or maybe a barcamp? Next time you get a chance to speak up, do so!
Of course speaking at conferences can seem scary at first; I used to get very nervous and still get wet hands at the beginning of every session that I run.
Just as with most things, feeling comfortable when speaking publicly comes with practice. It is somewhat necessary to put yourself through the experience of wet hands, sweat stains and whatever side effects you get when nervous. At least that's what I tell myself every time I step up to speak in front of people.
A few weeks ago I attended the #IndieCon2014 in New York and it came to a point when they asked the group if anyone would like to run a session. I spontaneously decided to nominate myself.
By speaking up, you let people know what you’re good at and why they should hire you. After I had finished speaking many people gave me their business cards to follow up and we have since started a dialogue about how we can work together.
Although it was a spontaneous decision to speak at this un-conference, I came to realise that I was already prepared for an occasion like this. Before I quit my job, I was looking for new approaches to professional branding and decided to draft a few presentations about my techniques and views. I created a couple of presentations on community building, customer care, account management, email marketing and some other topics and uploaded them to SlideShare, wanting to make more out of my LinkedIn profile. (Did you know you could implement SlideShare presentations on LinkedIn to make your page more visual?)
When you speak at conferences, or at least share your slides online, you give people the possibility to approach you without needing to do any hard sale. Speaking to a group of people interested in my work feels much less scary than cold-calling or emailing strangers and asking them if they will hire me to work on their projects.
So, yes, if you get a chance to speak at a conference, you should take it. If you don’t plan to speak anytime soon, you should at least have some presentations ready and publicly accessible on SlideShare. It will help you be spontaneous and it might also attract potential employers and head hunters who are on the lookout for good people.
Please comment below and share a link to your presentations as soon as you publish them. I’m very excited to learn something new.
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