188 FS Public Speaking

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Freelance Remote Conf will run from February 24th-26th. Get your ticket today!


03:04 - Panelist Experience with Public Speaking

04:35 - How do you get picked to speak at a conference?

09:19 - Why should I bother with public speaking?

16:35 - People Want Your Slides / Calls to Action

  • SMS Opt-in

23:19 - How do you hold the attention of a group of people? How do you know you’ve got what it takes?

28:13 - What do conference organizers look for in a speaker?

33:09 - What kinds of things do you want to avoid if you’re giving a talk?

37:21 - Preparation: aka Know Your Stuff

52:50 - Know Your Audience

59:06 - What to Wear


Michael Port's Steal The Show Podcast (Jonathan)Chris Anderson: How to Give a Killer Presentation (Jonathan)Spectacle (Philip)HP Instant Ink (Philip)Philip Morgan: A Minimum Viable Funnel (MVF) (Philip)Freelance Remote Conf (Chuck)Toastmasters (Chuck)


[This episode is sponsored by Hired.com. Hired.com is offering a new freelancing and contracting offering. They have multiple companies that will provide you with contract opportunities. They cover all the tracking, reporting and billing for you, they handle all the collections and prefund your paycheck, they offer legal and accounting and tax support, and they’ll give you a $2,000 when you’ve been on a contract for 90 days. But with this link, they’ll double it to $4,000 instead. Go sign up at Hired.com/freelancersshow.]**[If you're someone who runs your own service-based business, then spending less time on pesky admin tasks means having more time to focus on your clients’ work which is why you need to give FreshBooks a try. FreshBooks is the invoicing solution that makes it incredibly simple to create and send invoices, track your time and manage your expenses. It allows you to quickly see and track the status of your invoice expenses and projects, and allows you to keep track of your expense sheets in FreshBooks. For your free 30-day trial, go to Freshbooks.com/freelancers and enter the Freelancers’ Show in the ‘How did you hear about us’ section when signing up.]**[This episode is sponsored by Nird.us. Do you wish that somebody else would handle all of those operation details when it comes to hosting your client’s web applications? Nird.us is a Ruby on Rails managed hosting designed to make your life easy. They migrate everything for you, and new sign ups referrals come with a $100 discount or referral fee. To sign up, go to freelancersshow.com/nird, and enter ‘freelancer’ into the contact form for a discount.]**[This week’s episode of the Freelancers’ Show is brought to you by Earth Class Mail. Earth Class Mail moves your snail mail into the cloud giving you instant access 24/7 and integrates with the tools and services you use everyday. It’s crazy that we’ve moved everything we do for the business over to the digital world but still need to pick up, sort and manage physical mail. With earth class mail, you can get all your mails scanned and accessible online 24/7. You can search your mail, send invoices over to your accounting software, sync important documents into cloud storage, deposits checks and really just make running your business a whole lot easier. You also get real professional address to share publicly with customers, business partners and investors, and you’ll never need to worry about someone showing up at your door if you run your business from home. Visit freelancersshow.com/mail and you’ll get your first month of service free when you sign up.] **CHUCK: Hey everybody and welcome to episode 188 of The Freelancers’ Show. This week on our panel we have Philip Morgan. PHILIP: Hello, hello. CHUCK: Jonathan Stark. JONATHAN: Hello. CHUCK: I’m Charles Max Wood from DevChat.tv. A quick reminder that Freelance Remote Conf is coming up; it will be February 24th to 26th. You can still get tickets. So I look forward to that. Both of these gentlemen on the show here are speaking at it and it’s going to be a lot of fun. This week we’re going to be talking about public speaking for freelancers. Of course, I see freelancers/developers, Philip, mistyped because we don’t talk about developers here. I’m just kidding [chuckles]. I’m wondering what level of experience you both that you have with public speaking. JONATHAN: I would characterize my experience as pretty high. I've done over a hundred conferences and quite a few webinars and podcasts, so hundreds of speaking engagements to tens of thousands, maybe even a hundred thousand people. PHILIP: I’m at the opposite end of that spectrum. In the 90’s, during the first dot-com boom, I was a Microsoft Certified Trainer, an MCT, so I did a lot of teaching to very small groups; max 16 students. It wasn’t like speaking. I wasn’t there to inspire people. I was there to educate them. And then I have [inaudible] memorable hilariously painful experience of speaking in front of 250 people at Redmond for a conference that did not go so well, so I think maybe we can pull some fun lessons out of that. CHUCK: Nice. I've spoken at probably a dozen or so conferences over the years. Of course, I've also been on and produced probably 700 or 800 podcast episodes, so I don’t know if that counts or not. PHILIP: It’s sort of a special case. CHUCK: Yeah, it is. PHILIP: Yeah. CHUCK: It’s not live in front of an audience. I've also been speaking quite a bit in front of people for Toastmasters, so I have been giving speeches on a regular basis, but not in front of a large group. JONATHAN: Interesting. So, pretty wide range here. CHUCK: Yup. JONATHAN: Very cool. CHUCK: So I’m wondering first off, how do you line up the conferences or how do you get to where you're speaking at the conferences? Because most of the time – [crosstalk] – most of the time, I wind up submitting to a call for proposals, and then I get picked. JONATHAN: Right. Yeah, that is not what I would do. It seems like the obvious thing to do, of course, right? You just apply to the conference and you either never hear back or maybe you get a rejection; that’s probably the most likely case. It’s been my experience that most speakers get picked through the grapevine through connections before the call for papers even goes live. And depending on the type of conference, it could be that all the spots are given away to people that are related to the conference. So for example, if you have published a book for Sam’s, let’s say, and Sam’s does a conference on something that your book relates to, then they are almost certainly going to first reach out to all of their authors who have written on that topic and ask them if they want to speak because it’s going to double promote the book in the conference. So, just the call for proposals is probably a very low percentage chance that you're going to get in. The thing that I did was just – I just hustled like crazy to get my first speaking gig. And I did that by literally networking to the person who I knew was making the decision and standing next to her in line at the buffet and [chuckles] working it, like real in-person old school networking style thing. But there's a much more modern version of this where you could look at a conference that you would like to be a speaker at, and identify people who have spoken at it in the past that you may be able to connect to or you have friends that are friends of, some friend of a friend, and reach out through your network. You try and get in touch with those people and create a relationship with them, be totally transparent that you're interested in speaking at the conference, what did you think of the conference, how it did do for you, you have this idea for a talk, you think it would be a good one – that sort of thing. Just ask for general help. And if someone did that to me, I would totally give them a reply. It would be a fun thing to help someone do because it’s so hard to figure out. But anyway, get a bunch of speakers that are a couple of steps ahead of you in the business, and send emails like that to them. If they get to the point where they're saying ‘yeah, this would make an amazing talk, I think people would really dig it’, then you can explore the idea of ‘hey, maybe could you introduce me to one of the organizers’ or ‘would you mind putting in a good word for me’ or something like that. And if they’ve been honest with you about the quality of your thing, then they’ll almost certainly do that because they have no –. People like connecting people if they think that there's going to be a win-win for both parties. So I would try to hustle my way through my social network to try and get in. CHUCK: Yeah. I can tell you that I know a lot of conference organizers. I’m actually organizing my own conferences now. JS Remote Conf, the way that I do it is I actually provide a list of people that I think I want to speak. And then I also reach out to the host on the show that’s related to that topic, obviously. But usually, for most of my conferences, it fills up about half of the speaking spots. I gave the list to Mandy for Freelance Remote Conf and it filled up all of the speaking spots I originally had, plus one, so I added three. So I currently have 2 open spots. And it’s just – yeah, I mean, they always invite some speakers, and so if you can make it a slam dunk for them to invite you and get a great talk on a great topic, then it’s much easier to get in that way. And if you know the organizers, that also really helps. I've been privy to some conversations around ng-conf, which is the big Angular conference in Salt Lake City. It’s probably the biggest and the first big Angular conference that was around. So they have the core team come out and all this stuff. And I've been privy to a few conversations where they’ve been talking to people, and those people have pitched them an idea for a talk and it’s gotten accepted before the call for proposals closes. So it definitely works that way. There's definitely some who you know in there. JONATHAN: Definitely. I think there's two things that we should say on both sides of this. One is that the stuff that we are just describing is getting started in it, for sure. So there's the bigger question is why should you bother. And the good news is that once you do a few of them, it’s a really small world and people will start inviting you a lot. You'll automatically get word of mouth. So once you can get over that hump – first of all, if you decide that speaking is the smart thing for you, which I think Philip can probably speak to deeply, and you get over that initial hump of hustling your way into being a ‘professional speaker’, then it becomes much easier after that. PHILIP: Yeah, that’s where I was going with my questioning is more – I'm trying to put myself in the shoes of someone who’s like ‘why should I even bother? It seems like a lot of work and you have to travel and yada yada’. So you’ve seen the benefits of doing it, Jonathan, and why should somebody bother with public speaking at all? JONATHAN: Assuming that you're selling some kind of consulting service, which I presume all freelancers are at some capacity, they're an expert at something that they do, and if you are doing that, if you're in those shoes, then speaking at a conference is like an instantaneous trust builder that automatically attracts ideal customers to you like magic because you're positioned as an expert, you're put up on stage, it’s a very – you're like a temporary rockstar sort of thing. And there's this weird thing that I think happens where in real life you're never allowed to stare at someone, but when you're on stage, like a band or in this case a public speaker, people are allowed to stare at you. And I think it does this weird thing where it makes them – this is getting weird, I suppose, but I've talked about it before, this asymmetric intimacy thing that happens where they feel like they know you better than they do and you don’t know them at all. And it’s weird; it’s almost like they want to correct that. These certain people who really click with you will just come running up to you after you come off stage or when you're out on the hall afterwards. And typically, these are perfect customers for you. They are people that you're totally going to get along with and see the same world the same way you see it, and probably – maybe not – but they probably need what you are selling or they will need what you're selling or they know someone who needs what you're selling. So it’s this instantaneous trust, and if you have something to sell to capitalize on that trust, it means that you can come in very high fees, much higher fees than you would expect if you're billing by the hour. So it sort of leapfrogs you into the next level of your consulting game. In fact, I would say it would change you from a freelancer to a consultant. CHUCK: Well, it’s funny. You have the people who get on the New York Times bestseller. And what they did is they had a huge audience that went out and bought copies of their books that they're never going to read, and then whoever it was actually went out and bought pallets of their own book that they're going to sell over the next 10 years. And so they get on the bestseller list, but because they have that ‘New York Times bestseller author’ or whatever on their resume, it doubles or triples their [inaudible], their consulting rate, and what they're able to do as far as reach goes because people immediately take them seriously. And so if you're going out there and you're saying ‘I spoke at the big conference for whatever you're about, and I knocked it out in the park’, and you can get enough people to talk about it so that it looks like you're getting rave reviews, you get a ton of – you do, you get a ton of social proof out of that. PHILIP: It reminds me of a funny story that is a tiny bit of a tangent, but I think it ties in because, Chuck, you're saying your rate goes up, right? And I was interviewing Samuel Hulick on my Consulting Pipeline podcast. And Samuel said he started doing things that got him exposure. And then the phone started ringing and people were like ‘can we hire you?’ And the way he tells it, he hadn’t really thought through what his rate was going to be when that happened. So it sounds like if you're going to start doing public speaking, it might  be wise to plan ahead a little bit and say ‘ok, what if I'm walking off the stage and my ideal client runs up and he's frothing at the mouth to hire me?’ What's your rate going to be? What else would you recommend having thought through in that situation? Either one [inaudible]. JONATHAN: You shouldn’t – I’m guilty of violating this principle, but it’s really true. You shouldn’t be giving a presentation like that without having some, at the back of your mind, some called action that you're trying to drive the audience to. And it could be a change in their behavior because you're just – you're on the TED stage and you're trying to make the world a better place, or it could be to drive them to the back of the room to buy copies of your new book that you will then go sign, or it could be to get people to join your mailing list, or it could be to get people to hire you to coach them on a monthly basis, but you should have that in your mind. Your whole talk should be oriented around achieving that goal. And it could be an unselfish goal, it could be a selfish goal, but whatever the case is, it’s funny that he was giving talks without even having any reason. He must have had some unconscious reason or subconscious reason, but he certainly didn’t have a sales reason or marketing reason. And I would say that, at least for – you know, I've got a family and stuff, and flying all over the place gets pretty old after a while. The first time you get on a plane on somebody else’s dime and they're like ‘yeah, we want to fly you out’, you're like ‘man, I am living large. I am sitting on this airplane for free and this people really want me’, and it’s so cool. I remember clearly the first time somebody flew me somewhere to talk to me. And that gets old after like the second time. CHUCK: [Chuckles] that’s funny you say that because I’m having the first experience with that next month. [Crosstalk] JONATHAN: [Inaudible] leap on the floor in Newark is the end of your infatuation with air travel [chuckles]. So you need to – I feel like it’s a complete waste of effort to engage in this kind of marketing activity without having some clear desired outcome because it’s really hard. CHUCK: Well, I have to say that the first time I spoke at a conference – actually, the first several times I spoke at conferences, it was mostly just so that I could say that I was a conference speaker; that I had spoken at conferences. And I was a full-time employee and it was mostly just – yeah, it was an ego thing. And it was also ‘hey, I want to show it with the community’ thing. But the last 5 years as I've been working on my own business, it’s been much more about ‘yeah, you can hire me’. And we should talk about calls to action here in a minute as far as exactly how to do them because initially it was ‘oh by the way, I’m a freelancer and you can hire me at the end of my talk’. And I've gotten a little bit more sophisticated since then, but yeah, initially, it was just ‘hey, I want to be one of the cool kids at the conference so I’m going to speak at it’. And now it’s much more along the lines of ‘these are the things I’m trying to accomplish with my business. These are the ways that I think that I can help people, and so this is how I’m going to actually get people to get involved with them’. JONATHAN: Absolutely. Yup. Conferences – we talked about podcasting as similar, but a special case type of public speaking. It’s definitely true. I’m sure, Chuck, you’ve found that it can be tricky to get conversions if [inaudible] some marketing term. Podcasting is really hard to get conversions. Even if you're just trying to get people to sign up to your mailing list, it’s an awkward transition. CHUCK: [Inaudible] I’m playing some games with that, but yeah, it really is tricky. JONATHAN: Yeah. If you unlock that, you'll be a rich man, my friend [chuckles]. So public speaking, it’s much much easier to get the conversion because almost without fail, at least in my industry which is always software development or mobile technology and the effects of that on the future, people almost always want the slides [inaudible]. So at the end, you can say ‘if you want a copy of these slides’ – or especially if I did a live coding session where I built some watch application or PhoneGap app or something like that, people all want the code. So at the last slide, I’ll say ‘hey, you can download these slides here’. I've done it a couple of different ways: Follow me on Twitter and I’ll tweet the link out later, or experiment with SMS thing; SMS your phone number – SMS Slides to this number, and that didn’t work that great for me anyway. But basically, people want the slides. And what I do is when they download the slides – actually, what they’ll do is they’ll go to a link – I haven’t done this, but I’m sure Philip is going to recommend it: having a very easy to remember URL that’s maybe an entire domain name like you get [inaudible]. And they go there and there's a page that is more of – it’s like a resource center around the talk that you just gave that has more information and ‘oh by the way, here's that slide link that you're looking for’. And then in that slide deck, it would be the slide deck that I presented, but saved – you can save it out of Keynote in a way that it’s 3 slides on a page vertically with the speaker notes from each slide to the right of it. So in my slides, I typically pretty sparse, so reading them, looking through them without knowing what I said would be almost meaningless, so I put pretty [inaudible] speaker notes in there even though I don’t read them live on stage so that people can read it after the fact. And then in that version of the slide deck, I have a really strong called action at the end that I don’t present from the stage because first of all, if I presented from the stage whatever my called action is, they wouldn’t really be able to act on it right there. They wouldn’t be inclined to act on it right there. But later, when they are relieving the joy of attending one of my talks [laughter] from the comfort of their desk, they can then click on the link in the PDF of the slides and go to the thing that I want them to do next. So it bridges the gap from meet-space to cyberspace by them taking the extra effort to download the slides. CHUCK: Yeah. For me, I have to say it either has to come in two forms, the call to action. One that I've been planning to try – [inaudible], a friend of mine, did this at a conference that he attended. He actually had 3 or 4 little 50-dollar tablets – Android tablets – and he just passed them around and they were locked in to a webpage that was ‘enter your email address to get more information’ or get the lead magnet or whatever, and so people could actually then – they could get involved right there. If you're not going to pass around something that people can actually grab and have, then you either need to have something else that you can hand out or you need something that people can do from their phones. And typing in a really long URL is probably not something that people are going to want to do from their phones, so I do like the text-in option. I have to say I've had mixed success with it depending on the audience. Some audiences were like ‘ooh, yeah’, and I had half the audience fill it in to get whatever it was I was offering at the end. And other times I've done it and I've gotten almost none. So it really depends on the audience and I think it really depends on how well what you're offering fits with what they need. But make sure that it’s also along – in line with your talk and that it is something that is valuable and interesting. PHILIP: Yeah. You would think that SMS opt-in is just like a no-brainer because of the convenience, but I've experimented with it a little bit, and I know Jonathan’s experimented with it more, and I’m just surprised that it works not nearly as well as you would think it does; on paper it sounds great. JONATHAN: I think – I don’t know if we need to explore this, but I had one – this kind of falls into Chuck’s point – I had one talk that I gave since I talk about mobile where during the thing, I did a demo where I had everybody text in to demonstrate an interaction that you create for mobile marketing. And everybody, like literally everyone, did it, of course, because it was part of the thing. So then later, it was great because I immediately I would – I’d text it up [inaudible] the slides and ‘if you have any more questions, text me’, and all of a sudden, we had a – when it does work, it’s amazing because you have a very – you have access to a very intimate portion of that person’s communication stack where they take text messages very seriously. The flipside of it is I think that text messaging, as literally SMS text messaging, is – I feel like it’s – I don’t know this, but I feel like it’s declining in the face of the much more awesome messaging platforms that are similar but way better, like Facebook Messenger or Snapchat or Wechat or Line. All of these are so much more full-featured. They offer all of the same conveniences. They're not open to the whole wide world so you can limit it to a group of friends and not be spammed by people you don’t know. So I feel like SMS is – I find people now who don’t even know what I mean when I say SMS. They don’t understand how to do it. Google Hangouts on Android makes it really hard to send a regular SMS. So I think it’s probably – its time is probably passed, in my opinion. CHUCK: Yeah. One thing that’s interesting in you saying this is that I’m thinking to myself – of course, this is totally spit balling, but then, why not have them add you on Snapchat or add a channel – I don’t know how Snapchat works; I don’t actually have it on my phone – but add a channel of a teleport or – is that what it’s called? I don’t remember. Anyway, so some of these chat does things, and maybe Facebook Messenger, it’s like ‘here's how you get into the group chat on Facebook Messenger’ so that people can actually join in. One other thing I've seen though is that a lot of times, if you put the call to action toward the beginning of your talk while people are still engaged instead of going and looking up the last link you posted on your slides, a lot of times I get more engaged in that way. And so I’m going to throw that out there as well. So if you can say ‘hey, look, you can get the slides to this talk, like slide – you can get the slides to this talk by going to this URL or texting in or whatever’. A lot of times, people are still paying attention then whereas you get into a section of the talk that they already know about or they're just not as interested in, and you definitely lose some people as you go. JONATHAN: That’s a good idea. I should try that. CHUCK: And so I think that’s been the difference for me as to when it’s worthwhile and when it hasn’t. [Crosstalk] PHILIP: Oh sorry, I was going to say that brings up an interesting question. Why would people not pay attention to your talk, Chuck? [Laughter] But, actually let me put in another question in front of that, if you don’t mind. So again, for the folks at home, how do they know if speaking – if they have something to say that is going to hold the attention of a group of people? Assume they’ve never done public speaking before, how do they know if they’ve got what it takes to do that? CHUCK: There's definitely speaking skill and there's definitely your topic. I think somebody on this show might be able to speak to finding an expensive problem that people care about. JONATHAN: Yeah. So I think passion can make up a lot for lack of skills or just general inexperience. So something about your job – let’s say you're a UX person who – it just drives – there's certain things that just drives you crazy. The hamburger menu drives you crazy. Or you’d think there's this vast long in the world that it’s your mission to write or correct, then you're almost definitely going to be good; almost definitely. And the way that you can test that out is by going to meetups. It’s very easy to get a speaking spot at a meetup, but you can do webinars. You can, even just for your friends, you're like ‘you guys, I want to do this webinar. I have a slide that I put together. Would you mind – could you give me half an hour to run through it and give me some feedback?’But if you have the – the passion part is really important and it translates – you can see it translates all the way up to the TED stage. Like if you have a mission to correct this massive wrong in the world, then you're going to have no problem. There's plenty of help out there. If you're looking at it as a tactic or a technique to just further your business or your business goals, then you can actually do that if you're really good. So if you're a really good speaker, you can give a very entertaining talk, or you tell hilarious stories and you crush it and it works for you; you get sales. You're not going to end up on a TED stage doing something like that, but probably most people aren’t going to end up on a TED stage anyway. So that’s not a bad way to go. But if you're that double whammy of not very much experienced and you're not sure what your mission is, you're going to have a hard time. So if I was going to – I would look at what you – it’s hard for me to imagine that a lot of people don’t have a passion. I've met a couple, but it’s definitely a minority of people who are passionless about what they do; otherwise, you would’ve picked it. So find the thing in your field, in your area of expertise, that you just are super passionate about and focus on that, and then you can craft a talk around that. Just make a nice short 15-minute punchy version of it, present it to your friends on a webinar or in person if you're actually near people you know, and they will give you tons of feedback. If you're too chicken to do that, which I totally understand because it can be a scary thing, set up your laptop and video yourself, give them the talk to your computer and watch it. You'll see that you say ‘uhm’ a million times and that you have this weird fidget and you're constantly saying ‘you know’ or you do this weird pauses that I’m currently trying very hard not to do [chuckles]. And you can get good at the experience part. It’s tough to get by without the passion part. You have to care about something. So that’s pretty important. But it’s extremely persuasive, so if you can figure out what that is, you'll probably be in good shape. CHUCK: Yeah. I also want to just throw in there that – and you put out various forms of this, but it is; it’s practice. You can get such an engaging talk by practicing. And then another thing – I don’t know if I heard you mention this one, but video yourself and then play it back. And so it’s like ‘oh, I’m putting myself to sleep right there’. So you change it. You throw a joke in, you tell a story, you find these other ways of making it more engaging so that you can make it better. But you don’t know that until you practice. The other thing is that you can, or at least I can, usually when I’m practicing, even if it’s just in front of my monitor and I’m not even recording myself, I can feel when I lull, or when I have to stop and think, and when I have to really work through a part of the talk. And so those are the parts that I have to go in and rework a little bit so that I’m finding ‘ok, it slows down here because I’m not as familiar with it or because I don’t know this part of the topic as well’, and so I’ll go do more research or I’ll go figure out things or I’ll go fill it in. And just by practicing – the other thing is that most talks have a certain time limit on them, so you can also make sure then that you are engaging for the entire time, and that you're not going to go over, and then you can get everything that you have to say in and some of the things that you probably want to say and cut up the stuff that’s not as important. PHILIP: Chuck, you have organized some conferences. What are you looking for in a speaker? And not just technique, but topic and that kind of thing. CHUCK: Well, generally, I have some idea of some of the topics I want covered. So for the freelancing one, for example, I knew that I wanted something on pricing and setting your rate, so I asked Brennan Dunn to come speak on it; he said yes. I knew that I wanted something on the niche, finding your niche, so that’s why I invited Philip. Jonathan’s talked about value-based pricing and a bunch of other areas, so he could’ve talked on any of those, but I’m familiar with you, Jonathan, and so I was comfortable asking you to speak on whatever you wanted. Same thing with Reuven; you’ve just been on the show and has such good insight on all kinds of stuff that I've heard. And so again, I was like ‘yeah, come speak’. But I wanted some stuff on marketing, I wanted some stuff – so I have these topics, and so I go and I find people who I already have either have on the show, so I have exposure to, or I've seen or heard them speak before on that topic, and I've invited them in. It was the same with the JavaScript one. I had a space open up at the last minute, and I knew who I wanted because it was the next topic on my list and that happened to be NativeScript, which is writing mobile apps in JavaScript that’s not PhoneGap or hybrid app based. So again, I know what topics I want, and I select for that. The other thing is I’m also selecting for people who I think will draw people into the conference because I want them to attend. Let’s face it, people are paying for tickets and that’s helpful. So I do bring in people who I know have a following; but usually if they have a following, they have something to say that’s worth hearing anyway, so that also helps. And finally, it’s not just the topics. I talked about the topics, but it’s also people that I know can actually come and sort of hold either a one-way or two-way conversation with the audience for the conference and make it a good talk. So they are good speakers. They are articulate. They answer questions well. They're not going to say mean things to people when they ask you a question. And that’s also really important. So those are kinds of things that I'm looking for in speakers, are just all around make the experience as good as I want it to be, and to cover the topics that I think will help people. PHILIP: So if you are approached by someone who had a good topic but zero experience speaking, what could they do to lower your concern that they're going to bomb onstage, or otherwise, be a liability? What could they do to regain your confidence? CHUCK: They could do a dry run and send me a copy. They could send me the outline of their talk so at least I know that they're going to hit the major points that are going to be off-base for the audience. I try and accept one or two of the less well-known speakers, anyway, to conferences. I think Freelancers Show or Freelance Remote Conf is going to be an exception to that just because all of the experienced people I asked said yes. But JS Remote Conf, I think I had two first-time speakers. The last Rails Remote Conf, I had at least one or two first-time speakers. And I like getting them in there because I like giving people a chance, and then I go purely off of the merits of their talk. So if it’s a great talk on the topic they said they're going to talk on, then it works out. And I haven’t been disappointed yet. But yeah, it’s easier for me to do that if they can either give me some kind of reference. So if one of the two of you said ‘yeah, I know Joe Blow and he’s learning and he’s got great stuff and I think he’d do well or do ok’, I’d probably give them more of a chance than somebody who is a complete unknown. But the other thing is that sometimes I don’t really – I can’t really tell that from the abstract, anyway; the information they do give me on the talk when they submit a proposal. So in those cases, I’m just hoping that it turns out ok. PHILIP: So you'll take a little bit of a chance on somebody then? CHUCK: Yeah. Well, the other thing is that you can also usually pick out people who are somewhat experienced in speaking, just from the way they write their proposals. PHILIP: Oh, interesting. JONATHAN: Yeah. There's definitely a way to do it. CHUCK: I don’t know if I have a scientific ‘well, if they use these kinds of phrases or if they put it a certain way’. Mostly, it’s that the abstract that I get on the talk – and the abstract is just the description that they give me of the talk and any notes that they give me, because I give them two fields; one is the public explanation what the talk is, and the other one is anything else I should know about it so I’ll pick it. Usually, those are really well organized, and it sounds like from the description they’ve given, I can pretty much already tell you how the talk is going to go even if I don’t know all the details or the things they're going to say.And just from that, I can go I'm really comfortable saying yes to this because they are going to fill an hour well and it’s going to come out and sound awesome. JONATHAN: You can tell if their thoughts are organized or not. PHILIP: What kind of things do you absolutely want to avoid while you're giving the talk? What's going to just kill the energy of your talk and turn it into a dud? JONATHAN: Never make fun of an audience member. CHUCK: No, never. JONATHAN: Never, even if they're the rudest person in the world, you cannot – I've made this mistake once, and it makes – I’m cringing thinking about it. So big room, maybe 300 or 400 people in the room, some obnoxious guy comes in late, sits down, and when we get to the Q&A section he almost – I want to say aggressively – grabs the mic and asked me a question that I answered before he came in. And like a jerk, I said ‘maybe you should’ve gotten here a little earlier and I wouldn’t have to answer that’. And all the energy drained out of the room and everybody felt so awful. I couldn’t – there's nothing that I – I meant it; there was no apologizing, there was no walking it back. I was mad. And you just cannot do that. It killed my talk. And if there's one killer bomb you could drop on your talk, it’s losing your cool and taking it out on somebody in the audience. Ask him, somebody, to be quiet; somebody’s falling rings and you freak out. You just can’t do it. You got to be cool. You got to be cool. Laugh it off. CHUCK: Yeah. Closely related to that is being negative about any group of people that exists within the community or any group of people, period. It really hurts your talk. People will feel like you are trying to push yourself up at the expense of somebody else instead of pushing yourself up on the merit of the arguments you're making in your talk to try and inspire to do them to do something. And instead of doing that, you can poke fun at yourself; you can poke fun, good-natured fun, if the people involved are cool with it and everybody laughs. We see that at ng-conf with the core team there, but of a lot of jokes, but it’s all good-natured fun and they just roll with it, and so you can get away with that. But if anyone got up and said something derogatory about women or minorities or anything else, it would immediately suck all the air out of the room and no one would remember what you were saying in your talk. JONATHAN: Yeah. And that’s the big thing to remember is that – the one I get a lot is people who are wondering if they can swear or not. And they’ll say ‘but it’s just the way I talk. It’s a totally natural thing for me to do. It makes sense in the context for me to drop an F-bomb’, and some people – it’s a rare person, and a few come to mind, that can get away to that because it’s so ingrained throughout their entire persona that it feels authentic. But usually, it’s just lazy and it’s your way of saying ‘uhm’ or ‘you know’. I’m trying not to do it right now; it’s so tempting [inaudible], but unless you are putting it in for a very calculated reason, which you're not, almost for sure, don’t do it because it – not that it’s going to offend people and people – you might be thinking ‘oh, people should be grown ups’. It’s not about that. It’s more about distracting from your message. It’s going to – it’s like a needle scratch, like a scratch in the record off and you're like ‘what’. And this is a less of a big deal, but if you're smart, you're getting all these things recorded, and as a parent of kids, I like to listen to podcast and something like a conf recording when I’m cleaning around the house or doing the dishes and the kids are running around. So if it’s explicit, I can’t listen to it. And unless it’s for – unless it’s a talk about swearing, I can’t think of a good reason to let yourself be that intellectually sloppy. It’s just no advantage to it, so you might as well not do it. CHUCK: Yeah. I can plus one that. For me, it doesn’t offend me, but it does distract. It definitely – you use the word and I would – that was exactly what I was thinking is that I've been to talks where they were swearing through the whole thing, and it was; it was distracting because it got my attention every time and the attention was on ‘oh, he swore again’, not what the message was on the talk. Another thing that I want to put out there is that you should definitely, definitely be prepared. Don’t come in half-prepared and then be surprised when somebody asks you a question that you should know the answer to given what you're talk is about, and you don’t. The other thing is that if you're not prepared, it will show through. It’ll definitely show through. If you don’t know your stuff, if you're not able to talk about it off the cuff, if you're not able to roll with some things that happen during the conference, it is going to goof you so bad. PHILIP: And now, I think it’s time for my embarrassing story. [Crosstalk][laughter] PHILIP: Really, it’s perfectly what was you're just saying, Chuck. In 2007, I think, I was working for a small marketing agency that their main client was Microsoft. So Microsoft had Windows Server 2008 in alpha or beta – I think alpha, but I can’t remember; we were working on alpha code. We were building a training course for a Microsoft training division; Microsoft Learning, MSL. So there are 6, something like half a dozen people working on this project putting together this training course using beta software or alpha software to develop the training is based on. And they sent me up to Redmond to give a talk about this course that was going to be released concurrent with the release of Windows 2008. So I was ostensibly there to give other MCTs insight into what was going to be in this course and answer the questions about it. But the problem was that I was up on stage as if I was an expert on Windows Server 2008, which I was not. I was just working on a part of this course, a subset of the content, and there was no way that I could know everything about Microsoft’s next flagship server operating system. So there was a misalignment between, I think, the talk that I was there to give and then the expertise that I had available to me, which was insufficient to stand up to 15 or 20 minutes of questioning from a bunch of really smart people. And it was not fun. I got through it. It was a character building experience, but to me, it just highlights the importance of what you're saying. There's the preparation you do for the talk, and then I think there's this whole other set of preparation that you might do for the questions that can follow on to the talk. And that’s really where I imagine you get those people in the audience sort of salivating to run up and talk to you, is how you handle the questions almost more so than how you handle the talk. CHUCK: Yeah. There is another angle, though, that I wanted to hit, and that is that if you are going through your talk and the whole time you have to stop and reorient and figure out where you are and then start again, you do that more than once, and it is going to completely kill your talk because it is obvious that you haven’t prepared, you came in, you thought you could wing it, and you cannot. JONATHAN: So I want to tease up a distinction between those two things a little bit and give something I've learned that I think is helpful for people, which is that there's a rehearsing for the talk, there's that kind of preparation, like you just said, and then there's the knowing your stuff. You're up on stage as an expert about something, it should go without saying, I suppose, that you need to know your stuff if you're going to put yourself in a position like that. So, ok, make sure you know your stuff. I feel like probably that, people listening, that’s probably not going to be their problem. They probably do know their stuff. They probably will try to wing it, though, or they won’t rehearse sufficiently. So you really should try and do that because when you first get up on the stage, the audience – even if you come out and you're visibly nervous, the audience is rooting for you. They want you to give a presentation because that’s – it’s not good for them for you to give a terrible presentation. They want you to give a good presentation for selfish reasons. But also, people tend to just – no one is there to tear you down or – it’s such a rare situation that you’d had some heckler that is really just trying to make you or give you a bad day or make you look bad. Everybody’s on your side, but if you do make it clear that you did not prepare, you did not take their time seriously, then they will turn on you and they’ll just start getting up and leaving. And it will worse. So absolutely, you definitely want to rehearse. So now the flipside, I think is really important to talk about – being an expert in your niche or –. CHUCK: Can I talk about that for a minute before you move on? JONATHAN: Sure, yeah. CHUCK: Mainly, the two things that I see is, one, people paid money for it so they want to be there and they want good stuff, and I think you mentioned that. The other thing is that a lot of people will talk about – so for example, at ng-conf again last year, there was a talk called ng-what. And it was basically this programmer from Israel got up and set a whole bunch of intelligent but hilarious things about some of the issues that Angular developers face. And anybody who was sitting in that talk, and could talk about remembering being there, were kind of part of the in-crowd for a while. And people want to feel like they're part of the in-crowd. So when you said that people are rooting for you when you get up on stage, it’s totally true because they want to be part of the group that was at this historic or memorable event. And if you can make that for them to where they can go back the next day and talk to their developer friends and say ‘you got to watch this talk on YouTube’, they get credit for that. And it’s all because they're part of the in-crowd. They want great stuff that they can go talk about. JONATHAN: Totally. And that’s the high end of the spectrum. The low end of the spectrum is that they don’t want to have that cringe – they don’t want to sit through 60 minutes of cringe-inducing feeling bad for someone floundering around on stage because that’s just super uncomfortable. So they have every motivation to want you to be great. That’s really more of about the performance, though; it’s not necessarily about your knowledge or your skill or your level of expertise. And this is the thing where people get really scared. So people I’m coaching, anybody who has the slightest inclination to do public speaking, I encourage them to do it because it’s such a massive trust builder, which is what we need to do as consultants, is build trust. So the thing that almost everybody, especially the more modest ones have a problem with is they’ll say ‘I’m not an expert’ because there's this other person in the world who I know knows more about this stuff than me. CHUCK: And they're probably sitting in your talk. JONATHAN: Yeah, right. And they're going to be watching me. So they’ll be feeling judged. Man, I could go off on this, but first thing I want to say, I’ll just say it quickly, is expertise is relative. And it’s a term that you do not apply to yourself; it’s a term that others apply to you. And the people who apply it to you are the ones who are less expert than you, people who are – they know less about that. So that’s why I don’t feel weird when somebody calls me a mobile guru, but I would never call myself a mobile guru, because if I say it, it’s relative to the entire world. And I’m saying that ‘I am, in this entire world, I am the mobile guru’, as if it’s like I have reached the mountaintop. But if someone who works at a credit union, and has hired me to review the UX of their Android app, calls me a mobile guru, well I’ll take that because that person is totally not an expert at what I do; they're an expert at something else. So compared to them, yeah, it’s reasonable for them to call me that. And I’ll put a testimony on my site where someone like that calls me guru, fine, I don’t feel bad about that. So the thing that’s a problem is going up on stage and putting yourself out there, people feel like, or can feel like, they're tasked at least saying that I am an expert at this. And you should know your stuff, but you shouldn’t feel like you need to know everything in the world. So let me focus then on web stuff, mobile web especially is what I've been talking about for a long time, and it’s too big of a topic to know everything. So there's always going to be someone in the room who has domain-specific knowledge about something that’s much deeper than mine. I probably have a better broad understanding of how all the parts go together, but there are certain people who will know more about like offline caching or the idiosyncrasies of local storage on Android 2.1. I don’t have that stuff memorized. So when it comes time to do Q&A, it’s ok to say ‘I don’t know’, not a lot. You don’t want to say ‘a lot’, but if somebody asks you a question and they stump you, don’t [inaudible] and talk your way out of it. Don’t try and pretend like ‘oh, that’s not important’ or ‘oh, I think it’s this or I think it’s that’. Just own up and say ‘you know, I should probably know that, but I don’t. So here's what I’m going to do: I’m going to write that down, and I’m going to research it and find out the answer, and I’ll do a blog post about it, or if it’s a short answer, I’ll just tweet it. But if you follow me on Twitter, I will answer that question tonight after the conference’. Another thing that I’ll do if I feel like it’s a highly technical audience is that I’ll say – same thing – ‘I should know. Does anybody here know?’ and invite them to answer the question so that, first of all, they get some nice spot laid out on them and they feel good, and the person who has the question gets an answer. So it’s sort of a fine line. I don’t want to say ‘oh, you don’t have to know your stuff’, because you do have to know your stuff, but you can’t know everything. I guess that’s – the more common thing in my world is that people who are really smart, definitely what I would call experts in the area, are too afraid to go up on stage and present themselves as an expert because they know they don’t know everything, and I think that’s a shame. CHUCK: Yeah. Just related to that – and you brought up mobile web development, and one of the things that’s really big in that area is getting your payload sizes down; so your JavaScript files, you don’t want them to be large because mobile networks kind of suck, then they're slow. Even if they have a lot of bandwidth a lot of times, they're really slow, so you want to get those down. And so if you're giving a talk on how to get your JavaScript payload small, and somebody asks you about image sizes, it’s also appropriate to say ‘I’m not an expert in that. My expertise is in getting JavaScript payloads down. I know that someone so and so and so give good information about that and you can look them up online’. So you can still give out that reference or that referral ‘here’s where you find the information you want’, you don’t look like any less of an expert because it was off-topic or maybe at a depth that really wasn’t appropriate to the talk. And you can call that out too. And so then it’s not an ‘I don’t know’, but it’s a ‘here's where I would look for the answer’ or ‘here's getting you partway down the path’. What you never want to do is get up there and BS your way through it, because if you're saying something, if you're making it up so you don’t sound stupid, I can almost guarantee you that there's some enthusiasts who came to your talk because they love the topic, and they do know more about that particular area than you. And then you don’t want to be the guy – or the guy standing up and going ‘oh no, no, no, no, no, no, no. What you said is totally wrong. Here's how it is’. PHILIP: Yeah, for sure. The timing of this is funny because this morning at – I don’t know – 4:30am or whatever, I was writing an email to my list about expertise. And I see people making that exact same – I think it’s an error to conflate expertise, the idea of expertise, with knowing everything about your topic. Even if you’ve narrowed down your focus, you'll still not going to know everything about the area you focused on. I think expertise comes from your abilities to apply that knowledge in a way that produces a certain outcome: lowered risk, or whatever it is. So yeah, I see that too where people are like ‘I can’t narrow down because I could never know everything about X’, and the good news is that you don’t have to. You never have to. CHUCK: One other thing I want to call out on this as far as being an expert or not being an expert is that most of the great talks that I hear, they're about half knowledge just straight up stuff you ought to know, and there are about half experience rapport. And so if you're an expert in the sense that you have a lot of experience doing whatever it is that you do, I don’t care if you know everything. What I want to hear are the worst stories and the other experiences you have that tell me if I ever run in to this, then I need to do what you did. Does that make sense? JONATHAN: Oh yeah. CHUCK: And so if you’ve been doing it for 10 years, odds are you're enough of an expert to give a talk 10 times over and have it be terrific stuff. PHILIP: Yeah. I think that line between educating people and telling the right story at the right time, it’s very blurry, especially when you deal with adults who – as we age, we lose some of the advantages we had when we’re younger when it comes to learning and we’d benefit from a different approach. So I think that’s one thing that every speaker should study is how to use stories to convey, make a point, or convey some information or put that information in context. I think that’s important, for sure. I wanted to bring up the value of pauses. I don’t have a lot of big scale public speaking experience, but certainly in the classroom, one of the things I eventually learned the long hard way is faster is not better with information delivery. It’s not like the value of the class goes up the faster you can deliver the information and the sooner students can get out the door. And having a pause at the right moment can be incredibly effective in making a point or helping people reflect on something. CHUCK: Yeah. There was a talk that was given at MountainWest Ruby Conference the second year I went, which would’ve been like 2008, I want to say, and what effectively happened was the guy got up and he was talking really fast – he was just going and his slides were top to bottom, left to right, full of text. And he was just trying to cram all of the information into his talk as fast as he could. And one thing that’s interesting about MountainWest Ruby Conference was that was an IRC backchannel. And the IRC backchannel, the whole time, was ‘can you – I can’t even follow – can you – oh my gosh! I’m sure this is great stuff, but did anyone read that? I think I caught a snippet of something that was interesting that I wanted to hear and I just –’. It was just comment after comment after comment. And then the second half of the talk was making fun of how fast he was going. And ultimately, it was because nobody could get the information that he was giving because he was just flying through it. He barely stopped to breath. And I totally – I’m totally with you on that. Give people a chance to have things sink in. If they have an epiphany, they're going to miss the next thing you say, anyway. So if you stop and give them a second to have it soak in because you know that that’s one of the hard-hitting points that’s going to stick in their head and they're going to have to take a minute to digest it to really understand it, stop. JONATHAN: Can’t really do it on the podcast because Mandy [inaudible] it out, but –[chuckles]. [Inaudible] CHUCK: Mandy! [Chuckles] JONATHAN: One thing [inaudible] me that is a common error I see in people especially when they're starting out, and it feeds in to the impostor syndrome of ‘I’m not an expert’ and feeling judged and feeling like you're not worthy and all that stuff, is that a lot of times when you first start out, you mistakenly speak at conferences that your peers go to or conferences that you would’ve gone to. And that, if you go back to – think back to the beginning of this show, if you have a sales call to action, this is probably not the right conference for you to speak at. So if there's a very small delta between your level of knowledge on the topic you're talking about and the people in the audience, this was not a good conference for you. This is a wrong limb for you. So if you are a responsive web design expert, don’t go speak to a roomful of responsive web designer experts. It doesn’t make sense. You're not going to sell them something. You're probably just going to get into a debate with them over something. Maybe it’s just not a great idea. It’s probably a much better idea to go to a conference where your actual target market might be going. And it’s been my experience that when I do that, I am the only web expert or especially mobile expert at the entire conference. I shouldn’t use the word expert there, but I’m – it’s easy to call me an expert in that context because literally no one else there knows anything about it. So there, it’s easy to feel like an expert and it’s easy to not be – it’s running from that impostor syndrome thing or getting stage fright or nerves if somebody’s going to ask you a touch question or make you look foolish or whatever, the nightmare dream of appearing on stage with nothing on or whatever. Some of that stuff – [inaudible] you can solve some of these problems that we've been talking about by picking the right conferences to speak at and not just saying the same thing to your friends that your friends already know. PHILIP: I think that’s the old availability heuristic kicking in where people are like – they start thinking about the conference – if they haven’t pondered this before, they're like ‘what conferences should I speak at’, they think of the ones they already know about, which are probably the ones they would attend to get more knowledge as a practitioner of what they do, but not as a consultant. So don’t fall prey to the availability heuristic. CHUCK: Let me tell you a story. About 5 years ago – well, longer than that ago, but I started podcasting for programmers, and about 5 years ago, I’d been freelance for almost a year we started Ruby Rogues. And I was thinking to myself ‘yeah, this will be great’. I enjoy having the conversations, which is ultimately why I started it, but I also thought to myself ‘it’ll make it really easy for me to find freelance clients’. Well, funny thing. Ruby developers don’t need Ruby developers. JONATHAN: [Chuckles] that’s a perfect example. CHUCK: I started the JavaScript podcast and the freelancing podcast, now I can make products and I can sell them to programmers. And so, this availability heuristic doesn’t necessarily apply to me because I am in the demographic that I’m going to be speaking to, but I also have enough pull and the right kind of products to sell to them. But yeah, when I started out – and this has taken me 5 years to get to this point – when I started out, it just – yeah, it wasn’t the case. And it was funny because people will be like ‘oh, do you get many freelance clients from that?’ and I'm like ‘not really’. Most of the freelance clients I was getting were the ones that I did for beginners. And the reason that I would get freelance clients off of that is because some business guy thought ‘I’m a smart person. I can go learn to code’. They go watch my video and go ‘there's no way I can do that. No way I can ever figure this crap out’. And so then they call me and ask me to do it for them because obviously, I could. But yeah, I may have gotten one or two client referrals off of Ruby Rogues or JavaScript Jabber in the entire time I've done them. JONATHAN: Hmm. How many episodes? CHUCK: Ruby Rogues is coming up on 250. JavaScript Jabber is coming up on 200. [Crosstalk] JONATHAN: [Inaudible] 450 episodes, two clients [chuckles]. CHUCK: Yeah. JONATHAN: [Inaudible] CHUCK: And so, now yeah, now I’m putting out the conferences and I’m writing ebooks and things like that, but now the story is that I have a few thousand people that are subscribed to my email newsletters, and I have thousands of people that listen to the podcast. And so if I put something out there now, I can tell them about it and they’ll go ‘oh, I like the stuff that I hear from him on the shows, and that’s where this public speaking comes in, so I’m going to buy this stuff that he’s putting out there about it, but I have to pay for’. JONATHAN: Yeah. It’s totally doable. I’m a web developer and I sell stuff to web developers, but the thing that I sell to them now is not how to be a better web developer. It’s how to market your business. I don’t want you to get to awesome clients with less work. And the trick to selling to your own tribe instead of me maybe selling web development services to dentists is that you need to sell them something that they don’t really want; they don’t consider fun learning or have no idea how to learn it. I can promise you – I know this from experience that web developers who are my audience, web designers or web developers, they're fairly reluctant to pay for information that they know they can find on Stack Overflow or whatever. Do I blame them? I do the same thing. But you know them so well that you can come up with other things, like you got an interest in teaching about the art of podcasting itself. It would probably be very attractive to a lot of developers. So you're coming up with a thing that’s not their core competency and they don’t care to make it their core competency; they just want to get it over with and know how to do it and don’t really have that thing that makes them get all [inaudible] about it. CHUCK: Right. JONATHAN: What's that thing, that sort of like devotion to the craft that will make two people come to blow us overs, bases versus tabs – [crosstalk]. Yeah, stuff they don’t care about so they're not going to nitpick you over some meaningless [inaudible] like that. It’s like ‘I want to do a podcast. How do I do it? Just tell me what kind of mic to buy’. CHUCK: Yup, yeah. Exactly. And I’m working on that. I’m working on how to find a job, stuff for newer developers, and things like that where I have a view into these niches and I can give them what they want, and since it’s not part of the core programming competency, all they really want is a walkthrough on how to get what they want. I want to totally left-turn us here. This is something I wondered about for a while. Most of the conference talks I've given, if you look, you'll see me in a t-shirt and jeans. And I see other people show up in a business suit. I see other people show up with a sports jacket on and a t-shirt underneath and maybe some higher-ended jeans than the ones I wear, the ones you get at Costco that costs nothing. And so I’m wondering, should I dress up when I speak? I see some people get into costumes, for heaven’s sake. JONATHAN: You should dress one notch above your target audience so that you're not overdressed, because that would be a huge turn off if you came on stage in a three-piece suit to give a presentation on JavaScript developers; they wouldn’t trust a word you say. CHUCK: So I need a nice looking t-shirt. JONATHAN: Maybe from Walmart instead of Costco. [Chuckles] CHUCK: That’s right. And jeans without holes in the knees. I got it. JONATHAN: Yeah. You want to be one notch up, because then, if you are sloppier dressed than they are, you're not respecting them, in my opinion. But if you're overdressed, then that’s not good either. So for me, personally, I am gigantic fan of Brooks Brothers button-down shirts because you barely have to iron them; they always look awesome. You can’t destroy one of these things. Collar always works. And they're a hundred bucks. It’s not cheap for a button-down shirt, but you only need like 2 or 3 of them. It’s not like you're speaking in conferences every day. CHUCK: That’s true. You just throw it in your suitcase and then you pull it out, it looks wonderful, and you go. JONATHAN: Yup. Pro tip: make sure they don’t all look the same because it’s if they video the conferences, it’s going to look like you're always wearing the same shirt. CHUCK: [Laughter] Even with the same stain from lunch. [Chuckles] JONATHAN: So my general uniform is button-down shirt, which is almost always a notch higher than the people I’m stalking to; and nice jeans, not crappy jeans, and a really nice pair of shoes. And I’m comfortable, I feel like I look ok, I look better than – I’m more dressed up than 75% of the audience if I’m delivering a talk at a web thing. If I’m delivering a talk at – I’m doing like – when I went to Mertech last year, I was delivering a talk to a roomful of CIOs from places like McDonalds and Wendy’s, and then I went slacks and expensive shirt and dressy shoes because I wanted – and sure enough, there were people there in full-on suits in the audience, but I just don’t even have a full-on suit, so I couldn’t have gotten there. And in fact, I felt a little underdressed. I felt a little low-end. And I think that’s probably – and I believe that it matters. So general rule of thumb: know your audience and do them the courtesy of at least dressing up enough so that they think you're respecting their time. CHUCK: That’s really interesting because I don’t think – I don’t overtly judge people on what they're wearing, but that’s subconscious, man. It is tough. And yeah, sometimes I’ll get a feeling off of somebody and I can’t put my finger on it and I’m sure that that’s part of it even though I don’t overtly make that judgment. JONATHAN: That was a [inaudible]. CHUCK: Yeah, but we all have it. And so you can fight it and you can try to make a point. That one question related that, though, is that I know people that are not comfortable in a button-down shirt. JONATHAN: Then speak to an audience that wears at ease. [Chuckles] PHILIP: Emotionally comfortable or physically comfortable? CHUCK: A little of both. It makes them – I think it’s more emotional. I think it’s mostly in their head, but –. PHILIP: That’s something they could change if they wanted to. CHUCK: Yeah. And I know some people who have just said ‘well, wear a button-down shirt for a few weeks and then you'll get used to it and it’ll become something that’s just part of who you are. And then you can put it on and like it’. But I know people that, yeah, the idea of putting on a sports jacket or a suit jacket or –. JONATHAN: Yeah, it makes them feel like a phony or a fake. CHUCK: Yeah. JONATHAN: Yeah. I get that. I totally understand that. It’s like a – I think it's Ralph Waldo Emerson that said ‘beware of all enterprises that require new clothes’ [laughter]. It’s true because it’s – it’s scary true, actually. If you ever catch yourself buying new clothes, you should ask ‘why am I buying’ like different categories, you got to say ‘why? Why am I doing this? Am I trying to –?’ It could be good, but definitely worth questioning. So I totally get that. I [inaudible] Philip, you could buy this shirt and just wear it around and get comfortable in it. I've never known anyone to actually take that path. I think the other – the path that you usually take is they underdress and hurt their respect levels / trust level that they could be able to generate with the audience or they speak to similarly dressed people, which – and that one, I think, is probably fine if you can find an audience of buyers who are even more dressed down than you are, then that can work. And if we were going to wrap on something, I would just emphasize that doing live speaking gigs is an accelerant for your business. It’s great. It’s really, really good. Conferences, in general, are a fabulous thing to both attend and hopefully speak at. I don’t attend too many anymore; I mostly just speak at them, but it’s a great –. We all work – probably most of us work remotely, and being able to meet people in real life still has huge benefits, some emotionally, socially, and financially. And it’s a really great thing, so I would urge you if you're not – I want to say everyone should think about doing it; I know that some people are super, super panicky about going to perform in front of people, and they're just never going to be comfortable at it, but I think that’s a smaller segment of the population than you might guess, because people who are passionate about something – I've seen it; people who are passionate about a thing that are scared to death to go on stage can still totally pull it off. And it’s so good for them and it’s so good for the audience, you owe it. If you're passionate about something, you almost owe it to the audience to be up there and sharing what you know and solving pains for them. Whatever behavior change you're trying to instigate in the world, it’s such a great thing. It’s very therapeutic, I think, especially for people who work from their basement and in their jammies most days. CHUCK: Yeah. One other thing that I want to just throw on top of that is that most of the time when I speak, I, a) learn something while I’m preparing to speak and while I’m speaking, and it’s because, b) it helps me solidify my thinking about whatever topic I’m speaking on. And the more times I rehearse it, the more learning that happens. So it’s kind of the cycle. It’s a great way to learn, it’s a great way to teach, and it’s a great way to get your message out there. And you don’t have to be an expert; you just have to a level above the people you're spiking to in order to impact them and get them to move up a level themselves. PHILIP: It’s so true. You reminded me on the topic of expertise is I almost don’t think you can call yourself an expert if you can’t teach at some level what you know to other people. And the act of preparing to teach, and the act of teaching it, all deepen your understanding of it, for sure. Yeah. CHUCK: Alright. Well, let’s go ahead and get to some picks. Jonathan, you want to start us off with picks? JONATHAN: Sure. I've got two picks that are directly in line with the topic today. The first is Michael Port's Steal the Show Podcast, which he is doing in promotion of his new book called Steal the Show and his workshop series for public speaking and plug plug plug. But it’s really good stuff, but frankly, I think podcast, for some reason, the material is more persuasive to me through the podcast. I suppose it’s because it’s about public speaking and he can really demonstrate, for example, pauses that Philip was talking about earlier, and the importance of taking a beat. He talks about a lot of things: how to do – it’s really really good. So if you're thinking about doing this, super easy. Some of the episodes are 5 minutes long, some of them are 20 minutes long, but it’s really good stuff. I would definitely check it out. The book’s good too, but I think it makes a lot more sense in an audio format. And then the other thing is Chris Anderson who is the – I don’t know if he’s the creator, but he’s the curator of the TED conference. He has an article online called How to Give a Good Presentation, and of course, he has seen probably thousands of who knows how many thousands of pitches for people to apply to speak at TED. But also, they work really closely with speakers to make sure that the content is super super super polished. So even people who are professionals on the speaker circuit, they are extremely quality conscious and make sure that the speaker is going to fit the format, fit the time, do – I suppose wear the right things for the video, and do all of these different things. There's all these specific things to giving specifically a good TED talk, but they translate into the much larger picture of giving the presentations in general. And it’s an amazing article, and he wrote it after somebody dared him to speak at the conference, which he had never done, and he was like ‘wow’. He was like ‘I am shockingly nervous about this’. He’s been sitting on stage asking people questions for years but hadn’t ever been on the spotlight. So he took his own advice, dogfooded himself, and went through and gave what he said was [inaudible] ‘it was an ok talk’, but much more importantly, he came up with this step-by-step process for creating a very powerful persuasive talk. And spoiler alert, rehearsal has a lot to do with it. So those are my two picks this week. CHUCK: Awesome. Philip, what are your picks? PHILIP: I've got a few picks. I just recently got a new computer and I've been in the process – I always start from scratch with a new computer so that I don’t carry over the significant craft from the previous one. So Spectacle is a little helper app for OS X users. It sits in the – I guess in Windows it will be the system tray, but the menu bar at the top, and it lets you use keyboard shortcuts and manipulate the layout of the windows on your computer. And the less I can have to use them as, and the more I can keep my hands on the keyboard, the happier I am. And Spectacle is – I tried a bunch of these, by the way, and Spectacle is actually one of the better ones. I think it’s open source. It’s free. So Control 7 on my computer is snap a window to the left third of the screen, and Control 5 is going to put it in the left half, and it’s just so handy to be able to manipulate windows that way. I really love it. Unrelated to that, I got a new printer recently. I think the majority of us hate printers. I hate having to maintain them. I hate having to buy ink for them. So I got hooked up with what's called the Hewlett-Packard Instant Ink program. I do not know about this, but it’s basically a subscription you pay: 2.99, 4.99 or 9.99 a month depending on how many pages you want to print. You buy a printer that works with this program, and they monitor your ink usage over the internet, and send you ink when you're about to run out before you run out so you never have to go to the store and wonder why you're paying $50 for ink cartridges in your printer. I’m pretty psyched about it. So far, I haven’t used it for that long, but it works really well so far. Last pick: I think in the last episode, we were talking about starting from scratch, and it’s come up several times, the idea of how do you build a repeatable system for getting clients; how do you build, basically, a marketing funnel for your business. I wrote an article about this called A Minimum Viable Funnel, and the article is old. You can see it on my blog. But recently, I've started diving into each component of that funnel and writing follow up articles. I’m in the midst of writing a series of articles about this, and if you have any interest in how to market your freelance services or your consulting services without leaving the house, I share all in this series of articles, and you can check the show notes for a link to that. That’s it for me this week. CHUCK: Alright. I've got a couple of things I want to mention here. The first one is Freelance Remote Conf, so go check it out. The second one is Toastmasters, which is also related to this topic. It’s great practice. It’s helped me become a much better speaker, both in presentation: the way that I move, the way that I speak, the way that I put my slides together; it has been awesome. I just can’t say enough good things about it, so Toastmasters. And then I was also going to pick something else and I can’t remember what it was, so I think I’ll just leave it there. But I thank both of you for coming. PHILIP: My pleasure. JONATHAN: Thank you. CHUCK: We’ll go ahead and wrap up the show and we’ll catch you all next week.[Hosting and bandwidth is provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at BlueBox.net.]**[Bandwidth for this segment is provided by CacheFly, the world’s fastest CDN.  Deliver your content fast with CacheFly. Visit cachefly.com to learn more.]**

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