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.




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