Shane Purnell presenting at WordCamp KC

What I learned from Presenting at WordCamp

Shane Purnell speaking on About Pages
I truly believe we all have a path and public speaking is part of mine. When I heard that WordCamp KC was looking  for speakers last April I knew I had to apply. Why?

  • I wanted the experience
  • I had something to prove to myself
  • I had something to say


Watch the presentation.

My goal

To get the chance to speak

I was a speech communication major in college and I absolutely loved it. Recently I renewed my membership with Toastmasters International so I could polish up on these skills that had grown rusty over the years.  Don’t get me wrong I loved speaking to my Toastmasters club, but I wanted to know if I could still get up in front of an audience I didn’t know and present and present well.


What Went Well

I took action and submitted a proposal: As I said, I wanted to see if I could still speak publicly and the first step was to submit an abstract/ proposal of my talk. I sat down and wrote out about 200 words for my topic and sent it in. As the old lottery commercial used to say,

You cant win if you don’t play.


I presented: I forgot how much work a presentation is and a one hour presentation is a lot of work. I’m not sure how many hours of research and rehearsal I put in preparing for this speech, but I do know when I stood on that stage, I knew what I was going to say and I said it.

I heard some positive feedback: Did I kill it? Were people coming up to me and saying, “You’re the next Tony Robbins”?


However, 4 or 5 people congratulated me on my presentation and said it was helpful and one told me it was the best presentation she had been to that day.

Overall, I thought my speech was mediocre and still needed a lot more work. When I actually gave the presentation I saw some major problems with it, I’d like to fix. That being said, my goal was to get in the game and I did.


What will be different next time

I tried to offer too much information for the time I had to present: When I submitted my proposal, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to fill the hour that had been allotted to my session so I submitted two topics for my talk that were closely related. Huge mistake. I ended up with too much information and I was rushed to get it all in. I finished right on time, but a narrower focus would have been better.   The old speaking adage  is true

[Tweet “No one ever complained about a presentation being too short.”]


What I learned and you can take from my experience

Take time to be part of the event: Truthfully, I was nervous about this presentation. So much so I didn’t show up to all of the social events and other sessions taking place. I really missed out. If I had to do it again, I would worry less about nailing my presentation and more about  enjoying the event, socializing and networking.

[Tweet “Sometimes you don’t give the speech you want to give, but you give the speech you need to give”]

It’s true. I didn’t give the awesome presentation I had hoped for, but it’s early in the process and I’m in the game now. I gave the speech and I did it reasonably well so It was the speech I needed to give and it helped some people too.

Sharing your knowledge and experience to a room full of people is a blast. If you like doing it, do it every chance you can get.



About The Author

Shane Purnell

Shane Purnell is an IT Professional, Podcast Host and Speaker. He's spent the last 17 years studying how to help others connect their message to the world through New Media. Find out more at

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