Into the world of public speaking

Social media workshop

My session description on the BCFHPS website. (Click to see a larger image.)

A few months ago, a colleague in our financial department asked me if I’d be a speaker at this year’s BC Financial Healthcare Professionals Society (BCFHPS) Conference in Vancouver. She had seen me speak on social media at my organization’s internal leadership conference last year and thought I’d be a good fit. I was flattered, amazed I’d be considered for something like this and so of course I enthusiastically said sure!

Fast forward about four months. I am giving my presentation tomorrow and I’m so nervous. Of course the extreme planner and over-thinker part of me is very prepared — probably couldn’t be more so — but this will be my first big speaking engagement outside of work presentations! I’m a concurrent speaker, meaning the audience has three choices for the time slot, my social media workshop being one of them, so it’ll be really interesting to see how many people attend.

My audience is financial professionals from BC’s health authorities and I’m a little unsure how their knowledge base around social media will be. I plan to give a basic overview of what social media and social networking are, introduce my organization’s (Northern Health) strategy around social media, talk a bit about my recent MA research (social media best practices in health care) and show off our recent campaign (the September Health Living Challenge). I’ve got several videos to show (a nice break and opportunity for me to catch my breath and slow my heart rate), and an hour to talk, including questions. My run through last night took about 50 minutes (not including videos), but I figure I’ll end up talking too fast and forgetting some things, so should be ok!

And at the end, they really have no idea what I was going to say, so it doesn’t matter if I mess up. Right guys? Right?!

I’ve been getting tips on presenting and public speaking from a variety of people lately. Things like:

  • Don’t put your hands in your pockets and don’t have change in your pockets (although isn’t this more relevant to men?)
  • Tell them up front you’re nervous (I wonder if this makes you look pathetic right off the get go though?)
  • Don’t talk fast
  • Smile
  • Picture them in their underpants (has this ever worked for anyone?)

Do you have any last minute prep tips for me?

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3 thoughts on “Into the world of public speaking

  1. Tim Osborne

    I would never start by stating that I’m nervous. People will then be looking for nerves and seeing things that wouldn’t otherwise. I think you’re better off starting off by telling them about how much fun you’re going to have over the coming hour and how you expect they’ll learn lots of practical tips for their job. Set their expectations positively rather than negatively.

    Reply
  2. Pingback: On the BCFHPS conference and candy | northern front

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