SL074: Public Speaking for Techie’s

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Public Speaking for Techie’s

Public Speaking for Techie's

James Taylor interviews Poornima Vijayashanker and they talked about Public Speaking for Techie’s

In today’s episode Poornima Vijayashanker talks about Public Speaking for Techie’s.

Poornima Vijayashanker is an entrepreneur, engineer, author, and speaker who has made her mark in the tech world. A graduate of Duke University, Poornima was the founding engineer at Mint where she helped build, launch, and scale the product until it was acquired by Intuit. Following the acquisition, Poornima went on to launch Femgineer, an education company for tech professionals and entrepreneurs who want to learn how to build software products and companies. She regularly speaks at industry events around the world and has authored the book, How to Transform Your Ideas into Software Products, as well as co-authoring Present! A Techie’s Guide to Public Speaking with Karen Catlin. Having served as the Entrepreneur in Residence at 500 Startups, Poornima has also lectured at her alma mater’s Pratt School of Engineering.

 

What we cover:

  • Why speaking is a multivitamin
  • Public speaking for techie’s and the curse of knowledge
  • Lack of diversity in keynotes and panels

Resources:

 

Artificial Intelligence Generated Transcript

Below is a machine-generated transcript and therefore the transcript may contain errors.

James Taylor
Hi, it’s James Taylor, founder of SpeakersU. Today’s episode was first aired as part of International Speakers Summit the world’s largest online event for professional speakers. And if you’d like to access the full video version, as well as in depth sessions with over 150 top speakers, then I’ve got a very special offer for you. Just go to InternationalSpeakersSummit.com, where you’ll be able to register for a free pass for the summit. Yep, that’s right 150 of the world’s top speakers sharing their insights, strategies and tactics on how to launch grow and build a successful speaking business. So just go to InternationalSpeakersSummit.com but not before you listen to today’s episode.

Hi there. It’s James Taylor. I’m delighted today to be joined by Poornima Vijayashanker. She is an entrepreneur, engineer, author and speaker who has made her mark on the tech world, a graduate of Duke University. Poornima was the founding engineer at mint where she helped build, launch and scale the product until it was acquired by Intuit following acquisition Poornima went on to launch with femme Junya, which is an education company for tech professionals and entrepreneurs who want to learn how to build software products and companies. Now, she regularly speaks at industry events around the world and she has authored the book how to transform your ideas into software products, as well as co authoring present a techies guide to public speaking with Karen Karen Caitlin, having served as an entrepreneur in residence at 500 startups. Poornima has also lectured at our alma mater, which is Pratt School of Engineering. It’s my great pleasure to have her join us today. So welcome Poornima

Poornima Vijayashanker
thanks for having me today.

James Taylor
So share with everyone what’s going on in your world just now.

Poornima Vijayashanker
Well, we have started our six week online competent communicator course. And we’re in the middle of it. It’s great to see so many first time people who have been speaking for a while, learn a new approach and apply that and I know this is where a lot of people realize, wow, this course is tough or this is getting hard. So it’s great to see that there’s still Sticking with the program that they’re getting through it, that they’re at least diving in to try our new approach. And that is my sort of day for today is focused on giving them feedback on that new approach.

James Taylor
I mentioned. You know, obviously, you had this basic set, you’ve been very successful career in tech. When did the speaking part of you get started? When did you find you develop this love of speaking and speaking to, especially at conferences that you speak today?

Poornima Vijayashanker
Yeah, well, actually, I have been speaking for a very long time I in my youth was a very shy kid, and I figured around middle school that life was going to be hard if I didn’t do something to change that. So I joined my middle school in high school Speech and Debate Team, and I was really glad that I did you know, it helped me Ace my college interview, and then go on to ace my first job interview, and then do more complicated things here in Silicon Valley, like, evangelize the companies into the startups that I started, help recruit and pitch investors. For me. public speaking is definitely a multivitamin and it’s Something that Karen Catlin, my co author and I really evangelize it’s, you know, it’s a thing that people don’t recognize. And it’s definitely hard to get started in, especially if you have a fear of it, you’re not sure if you’re an expert, not sure where to speak. But once you get going, you start to see a number of benefits, as well as the people on the receiving end who hear your message. And so I have been applying public speaking any way I can. And I found that I benefit from it in terms of a business and building a personal brand. But the people who are listening also get a chance to connect with me,

James Taylor
and who are those? Do you have a kind of any early mentors and you’re speaking over the particular speakers that you look towards? These are all I like, I like what they do in terms of how they present or how they think,

Poornima Vijayashanker
you know, I didn’t because I didn’t know any better. So when I started to speak, I, this was back in 2008. There weren’t a lot of resources out there for technical Speaking there were four general public speaking. And I had learned them again in high school. And in college, I had a great debate coach who helped me not only with debate but do things like extemporaneous speaking, and improv improvisation. So I had a great coach in that capacity. But when I transitioned into industry, I noticed that one there weren’t a lot of technical folks speaking in general, or the styles is not quite developed. And two, there weren’t a lot of women or other folks that I could look up to. So I just honestly started to develop my own style. And then periodically I would come across great resources. You know, Scott birkins, got a good book. There is Reynolds who’s got that great book on, on doing slide design. And so I started to pick up elements here and there, but quite frankly, it wasn’t until I was pretty deep in that I realized, Oh, I have kind of cultivated my own framework from best and worst things that I’ve experienced. So I didn’t really have somebody that I looked up to initially or had as a mentor. It was a lot of it was just audience feedback, and getting a sense of what was working and what wasn’t.

James Taylor
I mean, you think of, I think of some of the best keynotes I’ve ever seen. And some of them are actually product keynotes. So I think, you know, the classic Steve Jobs at the Moscone Center near where you you’re speaking from today, you know, he’s a classic, you know, there’s that that but often feels like in, in the kind of tech world in that kind of Silicon Valley world, that a lot of the speakers are in the either the marketing the sales or the biz, biz dev world, they’re kind of getting more natural speakers. Are you starting to see that change now, within the more engineering community, you know, the people are actually building the stuff and creating these incredible products actually, you know, coming bit more To the fool there.

Poornima Vijayashanker
Yeah, it’s in the last couple years, just as there’s been an explosion in terms of conferences worldwide for marketing and for sales and for product. There has definitely been a interest to do more technical conferences. technical courses have been going on forever, I think. And in my early career, like around 2004 2005, I would go to some of these. But there were pretty big gating factors, you know, you had to really take the time to submit a proposal, there were a couple major conferences happening at Moscone Center around the world. And now you’re seeing there’s a lot of unconferences. There are smaller regional conferences. There are conferences that have started to add a technical component. And so it’s been great that there’s more and more interest, but as a result, we need more speakers. And you start to see more technical folks saying, oh, maybe it’s time that I branch out, and I do More public speaking to recruit to do product demos, or just to showcase the technical work that I have done in my team has done or my company’s done. So you’re starting to see more and more of that. But I would say, Yeah, for the last 10 years, it’s definitely been on the rise. And I anticipate more technical conferences coming out, just like there are other conferences in verticals.

James Taylor
So this is the whole Silicon Valley tech sector has also come into the spotlight a lot recently, in terms of lack of diversity as conferences I saw, I saw one the other day and I think it was like 40 speakers at this event and there was not a single woman, you get this. So that’s the first kind of like, okay, so I’m getting because you’re coming from an engineering what and there’s obviously there’s that there’s a strong sense in the engineering side and take that there needs to be a big rebound in terms of creating greater diversity, more inclusion there as well. What’s happening when it comes to the more technical conferences and those kind of events are they Really now having to basically take a look at what they’re doing and completely kind of rethink in terms of how they’re appealing to speakers how they’re bringing in speakers how they’re potentially betting speakers.

Poornima Vijayashanker
Yeah, well, I will say this, there’s really no excuse because Grace Hopper celebration, which is the largest technical conference for women, has over 10,000 attendees and grows every year by probably 20 or more percent. And they don’t have a problem getting women to do technical talks at every level, whether it’s entry all the way up to senior level executive positions and sea level suites, right. So if they can, if they can manage to scrape at you know, that many attendees as well as speakers and turn people away, then I think that there is a big market for getting speakers into some of these other events. So I push back a little bit in terms of how aware people are how much of a priority it is for them. For my personal experience, what I have noticed is there is definitely an interest. You know, women certainly want to get out and speak. They’re certainly full of doing it. They have to they’re either far enough along in their career or there is even early folks who are like, there’s I have something to share, right. And what I’ve noticed the last couple years, is there are conferences that are adopting a code of conduct in terms of diversity of speakers, diversity across not only genders, but you know, people of color, etc. And so the conferences who are more, I would say aware and with it are adopting these policies, not only to recruit speakers, but also how they conduct the conference itself. And I think it’s getting getting with the times and recognizing this because the ones that do end up attracting more attendees, attracting the type of attendees that they want And it ends up being a more vibrant conference that lasts for many, many years. So this is something I think that people have to start to invest in if they are going to consider doing this conference again, having it be successful and having it be profitable because at the end of the day of conference as a business, right,

James Taylor
the other thing I often think about is a speaker’s when we speak at a conference, we keynote a conference, We’re often asked by that, that meeting planner, that event conference organizer to recommend a speaker for the next year. And I, I was thinking about it a lot, you know, you and I were in a mastermind group has actually predominantly female as well in that particular group. And, and I was thinking about as well as okay, because this question comes in so often from event planners, like who would you recommend? And I, I used to, I used to be okay, well, I’d recommend this guy because he was very similar to me be spoken with a different subject from me. And so it was, it was I was going into a default position and without without giving any thought, and it was just like it was thoughtless. Okay, this person, I know him, I like him, I think he would do a good job for the client. And it’s what it’s made me do as a speaker. And in terms of, you know, my continual development is having to rethink, okay, I need to have a much broader sense of who’s out there, who’s, who’s doing like, Great stuff. And so this is a training for me. I don’t know if you’ll find finding this in terms of, because it’s so much business is referral based, you know, for other speakers.

Poornima Vijayashanker
Definitely. And I mean, you have a sense of who the best speakers are. So, one of the excuses I hear from a lot of folks says, Oh, well, everyone was just too busy. Like, literally all the women who know how to speak. We’re just too busy.

James Taylor
That day, they were

Poornima Vijayashanker
like, oh, what was it International Women’s Day, like, what what was the reason right? And I think what it means is that a they don’t think about it early on enough because they’re waiting until the last minute, right? It’s not Maybe a month or maybe two months out, or sometimes even two weeks, I’ve heard so many requests from people, sometimes even two days before saying, Oh, can you get me some money, nobody’s gonna drop work or even get the time off to come and speak at your event with that much lead time, right? You’ve got to start thinking earlier, three months, six months, if you want to get on people’s calendars, if you want to be taken seriously and be known as a professional, you know, organizations, so start to do it earlier on and make that a priority. And then of course, if you have situations where people say, Oh, I can’t do this, or you know, I just happen to have a conflict, then having them suggest somebody else, but but the other place is to have your own watering holes. So for example, earlier this year, my sponsor actually tasked me with putting on a panel. And, you know, the sponsor said, Well, here’s a panel for you, please moderate it. And I took one look at that panel, and it was me and I think there was one other woman and the For guys, and I was like, I can’t do this panel, you know, and I pushed back. And of course, my sponsor and I have been working together for four years. So I had that ability to speak up and he is a great ally, had he not, I probably would have just said, like, sorry, I’m too busy can’t make it right. Or you probably wouldn’t be my sponsor. So I took the time and I said, Look, this panel is just not attractive for these reasons. And if you want me to moderate this, here’s what I want to see. I need you to cut out at least two spots, and I want to replace them. And I’m happy to bring you people but what I don’t want to see is four guys and one woman and then me as the moderator, that’s not a very balanced panel. So he kind of tasked cast me with Okay, fine, go find the people make sure that they can speak here’s kind of the background. And I already had a couple watering holes. You know, I am part of a couple slack communities. Obviously I have my own network. I have students that I train, so I have a lot of places that I can pull from. I still found it a little challenging. I won’t say that people just trickled into me But within a couple days, I was able to get people to say I’m interested. And then from there, I went through their profiles to see that they had spoken. They had either a YouTube video or they had spoken somewhere before that could vouch for them. And I ended up actually, surprisingly, getting to women. And then what ended up happening was one of the guys who was on the panel, I couldn’t make it. And so he gave up his spot to a female colleague, and the panel ended up being five women or was like four women and one guy, which is kind of coincidence. We didn’t really planned it to be that way. But I gotta say, what ended up happening was, there was a awesome audience turnout, we were pretty much sold out. The people that came out said, Oh, somebody really put a lot of thought into this panel. And a lot of women came out saying, Oh, I looked at the roster. I saw that it was a great representation of women who are doing pretty advanced stuff. I mean, We had somebody who was doing augmented and virtual reality, we had someone who was a product manager for the last 1015 years. So these were not like, oh, let’s just find somebody who’s a recent grad or flexibly up the street, these were experienced individuals, right? Taking the time to think through who needs to be there, why and how that’s going to reflect the audience and how they perceive this panel was important. So you’ve got to have somebody that’s going to push back a little, as well as pluck the folks and say, these are the people that need to be on this. This is how it’s going to operate. And that, of course, takes time, I understand. But if you don’t put in that effort, then you know, people are gonna be like, Oh, this is just like any OLED panel. You know, why bother? And you’re not going to get the response that you want to see.

James Taylor
Yeah, I mean, I think I was I heard from a speaker in Singapore the other day, saying, Yes, it is. I’m actually getting home our speaker together, we’re going to refuse to be on all matters. panels we get things like this normal panels to be basically declined now, and we say okay, we think and we get it sometimes it’s it’s just, they haven’t thought they’re just not. It’s just like it’s like as you say it’s last minute, I’ll just, you know, they’re not really thinking in any kind of way in terms of what potentially is going to be in the best interest of the audience in terms of having diversity of ideas and those people diversity of ideas as well. I’m wondering, so my wife is a an engineer. She’s a mechanical engineer by trade. So I often test out my keynotes and her because her brain is very different to mine. She thinks much more analytically, you know, she’s into the detail and stuff like that as well. So I’m very lucky I’ve kind of got that person that I’ve got that techie person to test out things on. For someone that doesn’t have that. How should they be if they’re working out their keynote and then knowing they know they’re going to be speaking to more technical audience does have to be engineers, maybe scientists are more technical audience anyway. How should they be thinking about preparing If they’re not necessarily a technical person themselves,

Poornima Vijayashanker
so I read a really interesting book recently by Angie Panzer, and it’s all about writing for the workplace. And I thought that the takeaways apply to speaking as well. And the one thing that she mentioned in her book was how a lot of times when we write, if the writing is very dense, if it’s convoluted, then the reader looks at the writer and says, Oh, this person, just, you know, isn’t a very good writer, and isn’t a very polished person or professional person, because of the cognitive load they put on the reader. Now, if the writer instead uses simple language, despite what level the reader may be at, right, the reader immediately gets it they kind of flow through the book, and they’re thinking wow, I totally understand all these concepts. I was able to finish the book you know, cover to cover and they feel empowered, right. Same same rules apply to being a Speaker, it doesn’t matter whether you are going in front of a technical audience or a lay person audience, you have to take the time to say, I’m presenting this information, there may be jargon, there may be concepts that are or things that, you know, I discovered that other people may not know, right, the curse of knowledge. So how can I best convey it in a way that’s easily digestible? Not patronizing, you know, so that’s the tone depends, and depends on how you how you phrase it and how you deliver it in your tone. But if you can incorporate that, then audiences are going to feel like wow, this was a very polished speaker, a professional speaker, a knowledgeable speaker, because you’ve done all the work for them. So regardless of who your audience is, whether it’s technical or non technical, I always encourage people to do that. And it does work. That’s the thing like once you start to do it, you’re like, wow, I felt like I had stripped a lot of the content out I made the message simpler. I had a smaller table. takeaways are fewer takeaways. And people were thankful, you know, nobody said it was too watered down. And nobody said it was too dense. It was just right. And that takes a level of practice. But I would encourage your people in your audience to think about that, how can I take my message, regardless of the audience, and make sure that it’s simple, because the people on the receiving end are going to are going to judge the quality of the speaker based on how simple you make it.

James Taylor
It’s really that that line, which someone said, Kevin, which famous author said, it’s Sorry, I’m having to write you a long letter, I didn’t have time to write your shorter letter, because the writing the shorter takes so much more work. And you have to really think, you know, much, much more intensely about how do I want to distill this down. I’m also wondering, now you’re saying this, I’m reflecting on some of the some of the speakers I really like and they often speak as three different levels so that there’s so even if I’m not attending, I go and listen to them speak. I understand cuz they’re speaking of the usual most consistent and things like that. So, you know, they’ll relate it to maybe foods or things I get as a non technical person. But then there’s another level up, which is maybe the more executive level and that executive executive level to certain using certain concepts there. And then there’s another level again, when they using whether it’s in terms of certain jargon, or they’re giving clues. They’re giving a sense at this point. I know what I’m talking about here. But I’m also having to create a create a talk and I think that’s, that’s must be a fine balance to be able to, to get a get a message across in that way.

Poornima Vijayashanker
Sure. Well think about this way, even your executive who has a million things going on in their head, they, they’ve got thousands of people pitching them, they’ve got emails coming in, they have their own decisions to make, right even if you were to take the time and put something into a simple analogy, or contexts that they’re going to get in the first you know, 30 seconds or three minutes. You have just now saved them from having to do that load, right that that cognitive load. And so even for the folks who are like that, I find that it’s very, very helpful to make the jargon of the company to demonstrate that you know what they’re talking about, right? So if you say something like, Oh, yes, I understand that this company you guys use, okay, ours okrs mean, blah. Here’s how I think you know, what I’m talking about relates to that. So you can you can kind of get your foot in the door and demonstrate credibility. But again, think about what that person on the receiving end goes through on a day to day and really take the time to say, How can I present this information? Because my sense is you’re going to want to get something out of that relationship later on. You may want to go on to do consulting, you may want to get hired on again, as a keynote speaker, you may want a referral, right? And so when you’ve done that heavy lifting for them, Then all of a sudden, they’re like, Oh, this person was fantastic, right? And it, it becomes this thing that people, like, I can’t put my finger on it. But that’s essentially what they’re doing. And, and storytelling is one format to do that in analogies or another. But you’ve really got to think about that cognitive load on your audience member.

James Taylor
I’m thinking that’s sometimes the benefit of being the closing keynote speaker, as opposed to opening is if you can get in a few days early to the event, and you can spend time and then you quickly get to hear the language of, of the delegates, what the toys but if it’s an industry you don’t know about, there’s downsides, obviously, to be in a closing keynote, a lot of people thinking about leaving, where am I going to go? Like, I’ve got to catch my flight, but there’s definitely some, some benefits there. So you’re, I know you have this this, this course, which is really helping, the more more techies, you know, speak whether that’s because they have to go and present product launches or whether they have to present to the teams or selling an idea, maybe to a client as well. What when when you start getting you know, working with those people When people say kind of going through that course, what is the what is the aha moment? Do you see from them where they suddenly go? Oh, okay. Oh, this this concept is just opened up his knees changed my paradigm on how to speak what was the thing that you tend to find there?

Poornima Vijayashanker
Well, I think the first is because so many of these folks don’t tend to be presenters on a day to day basis, like a salesperson or a marketer would be their first resistance is Oh, I’m just not a natural speaker. Right? And, and getting them over that initial hump of you’re going to be nervous. Everybody’s nervous nerves are okay, here’s how to manage that nervousness is the first hurdle. And so we do that through some pretty simple exercises that have nothing to do with anything technical, right? We just, we make it really, really easy. One of the first exercises I do is describe to me your favorite dessert, and that’s something anybody can do. Right? And then they see Oh, that was it was kind of challenging to do, but I did it and it works. makes them realize that they can achieve something. The next phase is, I’m not an expert, right? Because even though people may be technical, they may think that they are not as big as the next person. Or maybe they’re not far enough along in their career, or they don’t have something novel and earth shattering to share. So the second thing that we help them do is really extract their expertise by looking at what they’ve already done, and realizing that there are people out there who may be less experienced or less knowledgeable than them. And those are the folks that want to learn. And so that’s kind of the second breakthrough moment they have. And then the third is explaining to them just like building a product, no writing software or hardware or whatever they’re working on has a process, there is a process to creating a talk. Once they get over that, then they’re like, Oh, well, now I know like how to put this together, but up until then, they feel like it’s a mystery and that you have to be really good. charismatic and you have to be leading like, a billion dollar company like jobs in order to do it. So. So once we get to walk them through these three phases, they immediately have a sense of I can do this going forward. And yes, I’m still going to be nervous. Yes, there’s going to be moments where I’m going to need to break down abstract concepts, I’m going to need to practice my talk, right? But those I would say, are like the three pillars that we build on, so that by the end, everybody in our course, is doing at least a five minute lightning talk. And it’s, it’s pretty transformative, you know, recording them throughout. And then at the end, sometimes they say, Oh, you know, I was really nervous. I don’t know how I did. So we make them go back and watch it. And the next day, they’re like, Oh, my gosh, I didn’t recognize myself. It’s like what the majority of students say. So it’s fantastic to be part of that process. And to see how awakened they become and to see that they can, they can do it and they just, they just needed somebody to kind of guide them along and to help hold them accountable through each of those steps.

James Taylor
Now you’re in the land of tech. So I want to make a couple of quick fire questions here. What is that app that you’re using just now the or the online tool? Do you find really useful for yourself? Especially for the speaking part of you it could be in terms of how you prepare or it could be in terms of how you get your speaking gigs or deliver on your on your speaking What? Are there any tools you really enjoy using?

Poornima Vijayashanker
Yeah, unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of tools that I use to get engagements I find that most of my engagements I have to just do sort of the general sales process of cold calling or cold outreach to people through email following up. I will say that what has helped a lot this year in particular, is my YouTube channel. So having and that I’ve been building for the last four years. So it’s kind of funny that it was only recently that I’m starting to get more and more interest. And the thing about my youtube channel is I have a variety in In terms of the content that I produce, I have some short videos that are about a minute to five minutes long. I have longer videos that are interviews that I do for my monthly or weekly web. And then I have ones that are probably 15 or so minutes. I also take any previous talks that I’ve done, and I put them up there so that people can see. And that ends up being one a really great source of interest and to credibility, because at the end of the day, if somebody is paying me to come and speak at their conference, they want to know, okay, can this person actually deliver? Yeah, and having that video, no matter how long or short it is, can get your foot in the door and also help close the deal, versus a lot of people I know, don’t have a video, and it doesn’t have to be something highly produced. You know, one of the earliest videos I did was just me standing in front of a camera speaking to people talking to them about what Fungineer was. I was about three minutes. Long as if you can create a simple explainer video, you can use that in so many places, certainly on YouTube, but in your email signature, you know, as people request a sample, and I feel like that is really, really critical having that piece of video, and if you can emulate a audience setting, because I have a couple where I’m speaking to people, getting those audience reactions can be valuable, because a lot of a lot of organizers want to see how the audience reacts to what you’re saying. So I also have my like TEDx talk in there. And that’s very helpful.

James Taylor
No, that’s gramming I think YouTube is such a powerful place. Because, you know, when I talk to meeting planners, it’s like the number one if they’re looking for, let’s say, a speaker on innovation, that that they go to YouTube first is that it’s the place to go. And then the other interesting when they’ll if they’re looking at speakers, because of the way that the the, the recommendation engine works on YouTube. If you’ve got your tagging, right, and your titles and a bunch of other things right, then you can actually get seen by the people who have Wherever you whoever you know that there will be a guru in your topic, you could get seen, you know, after that video, you know the recommended videos as well. So I think that’s great. I think that’s it. That’s a great suggestion. What about books you mentioned Scott Burke and his book was a great book on on speaking, it was another book. It doesn’t have to be on speaking, but maybe it could be on. It could be on, you know, the world of tech. It could be some of it some of the topics that you talk on.

Poornima Vijayashanker
Yeah, well, actually, right now I’m diving into a Patsy rodenburg book on presence, the second circle book, and I did that because I understand how to be present with my audience. I’ve been doing this for so long, but I need to be able to convey that it to my students, and I need to have a resource to do that. So I’ve actually found her book really helpful, because she very clearly explains why some people kind of get stuck in their own head or their maybe two outward, you know, it’s sort of the overly salesy person or the old Really bubbly person? And how do you kind of rein that in and present with your audience? And again, that’s where you develop the connection with your audience. And so for me, I’m, I’m currently reading that, and I think it’s I think it’s a great read. So I would recommend it for people who have maybe started speaking, but they feel stilted, or maybe they don’t feel as connected with audiences, or if they’re just looking to say, hey, how can I move better in my own body? How can I be a little bit more dynamic of a speaker? I think it’s a great read for them to get started on.

James Taylor
Great. We’ll put a link here as well. What about if you were to let’s make you wake up tomorrow morning. You have to start from scratch. No one knows who you are. You’ve never been booked to speak before. You have your LinkedIn profile is being wiped clean. So what would you do? How would you restart especially the speaking part of your business in your career?

Poornima Vijayashanker
I honestly say I would go back to basics and basics for me. We’re doing some in house training with my team. So when I was at mint, one of the things I did early on was train all the employees because I was literally the first engineer there, right? So I had to sit down with them and explain, here’s the architecture, here’s how you get started. So and that’s a very kind audience. It’s your peers, you can’t really mess up and they’re not going to grade you if you’re doing a lot of thumbs up verbal tics, etc. So I started there. And then from that point, I thought, okay, I wonder if I can go out and take this information and spread it to other people. So I actually approached unconferences first, because the thing about unconferences is there’s no I mean, they have standards, but there’s no high barrier. You don’t have to sit down and spend hours and hours crafting your proposal talking to a bunch of organizers. You literally come up with a topic, you throw something up there and then now people have started voting on what they would like to see but still It’s pretty simple, and it’s very casual. So you can then get an audience of about 510 or 15 people to come to your talk, and start, start there, maybe get a few testimonials from the folks who attended so that they have a sense so that you have them to then go out and get more speaking engagements. But but that’s how I would start, I think I would just go back to what I had originally done, because for me, I think that that’s a very organic way to do it. And it’s also a way where you’re improving as you go along. Right? You’re kind of starting in a place where you feel safe. Because a lot of people, you know, they’re like, Oh, I want to speak at a conference and then all of a sudden they get really nervous, right? So start where you feel safe. go from there, there’s no there’s nothing wrong and doing baby steps. And then once you get to a level where you’re like, Oh, I could give the same talk again and again, I could do it at conferences, etc. Then start reaching out to people But I would, I would kind of follow a bad approach. The key thing though, is setting a milestone setting a goal and saying, I’m going to do at least one talk quarter talk of sense for your schedule. I think consistency is really the key. And like anything else, it’s that consistent practice getting out there and doing the speaking. And you’ll find that as you start to do it, it has a snowball effect, more people want to reach out to you more people are aware of you. And you then get to be in a position where you decide, you know, what are the things that I want to invest my time in? Where do I want to speak? Who do I want to reach out to

James Taylor
pretty we could speak about loads of other things related to this topic, especially in terms of being an evangelist and influence so within your industry and within your, with your company, because there’s so many different ways to go, where would be the best place if people want to kind of learn more? Where should they be going now, if you want to learn more about you and the work that you’re doing, and maybe we can take those next steps,

Poornima Vijayashanker
feel free to reach out to me on Twitter. I’m @Poornima

James Taylor
Well, I love that we’re going to have that link here. And I’m actually going to be reading that book as well because I want to pick up all these, especially when you’re talking about process as well. And I love I love when we can start breaking things down into process. So pretty much thank you so much. It’s been a I love just when we have we have our conversations as well. And I think you’re doing amazing, amazing things. I look forward to actually catching you on stage at some point really soon as well. And I wish you all the best is engineering creases. Thank you.

Poornima Vijayashanker
Thanks for having me.

James Taylor
Today’s episode was sponsored by speakers you the online community for speakers and if you’re serious about your speaking career then you can join us because you membership program. I’ll speak as you members receive private one on one coaching with me hundreds of hours of training content access to a global community to help them launch and build a profitable business around their speaking message and expertise. So just head over to SpeakersU.com to learn more.

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