Several months ago, I was a speaker at a small digital marketing conference here in San Diego. It was the second time this year I participated in an event by the same organizers, and a young woman who recognized me from the first event approached me to ask how I got started with speaking at events like the one we were attending.
It took me a little while to trace it back. I’ve been speaking at small and regional marketing conferences for many years, and of course before that I was spending hours each day standing up in front of a room of fifth graders. In between those times, though, there were a series of community events that gave me really unique experiences and opportunities.
Startup Weekend, BarCamp (RIP), and Ignite are all events planned by the community for the community, and I’ve always loved what they offered. Though they’re all very different in format, the things they share are things I love: Hard work, creativity, collaboration, learning, new friends, and usually some beer. But none of those things were actually *about* learning how to be a public speaker; it was just a lovely side effect because of the way I participated in them.
But shortly after my conversation with the young woman at the conference, it occurred to me that there’s no reason we couldn’t take the best parts of those community events and realign them with a new purpose.
So, friends, I’m proud to announce that new kind of event. It’s still by the community and for the community, and it shares all of the things we loved about the other events, but this one is intentionally crafted for folks who maybe don’t pursue and definitely aren’t handed moments to practice their public speaking.
Speak for Yourself is an inclusive two-day workshop for beginning public speakers. The goal is simply to increase confidence, experience and opportunity for women and people of color that want to get on stage. There will be great speakers sharing their craft, explicit teaching of best practices, mentorship, coaching, peer review and, of course, beer.
The whole thing culminates in an unconference-style speakers circuit where everyone who wants to gets a chance to demonstrate and practice their new skills.
Won’t you join us?