Speaking about speaking

PodCamp Montreal 2008 52, originally uploaded by Eva Blue.
I had the opportunity to speak at a few conferences this year, and once again, I enjoyed it thoroughly.  From a marathon 2 day presentation at podcamp Toronto, to a few work-related sessions, to presenting in french at Podcamp Montreal, I feel I had a good year for a non-professional speaker. No tomatoes thrown my way is a good thing.

I really enjoy is speaking/presenting at conferences. Be it at PAB , podcamps or work-related events, I truly enjoy walking into a room and building a connection with the people there. There’s a magical moment when people “get” (and hopefully agree with) what you’re presenting. I remember putting the audio together for the “podcasting 101” session in Montreal, and seeing the faces of session attendees light up when all the bits of un-related audio were played back as an audio program. It was at that moment I knew they “got it”. It’s quite a rush, really. Some were just politely paying attention to whatever I was doing, but the playback started, and they jumped in. I could see the way they were sitting change – from laid back almost falling over the chair, to leaning forward, tilting a favoured ear towards the speakers. It’s quite powerful.

To me, speaking presentations are just as much a self-sell as anything. If you do a good job, not only will you walk out of the session with more people convinced of your position, chances are you will be more convinced too. Presenting gives me a chance to show myself how much I know about a subject, as if my presenting to others was proof to me of my knowledge.

A great example of this is audio. Having edited audio for so many years, it’s easy to forget that what we do is create magic.  We do!  Don’t sell yourself short! What we do is take a bunch of disconnected audio bits and make it into a statement/show/demonstration. We literally make something out of nothing. What is more cool than that?

Looking forward to ’09, I’ll likely be speaking at a few events, and one of the hardest things for me is to decide a topic. For an open event like a podcamp, my attitude has always been “I’ll do what we need or think is missing” which is great, but I often find myself doing Audacity workshops or more skills-based sessions.

These sessions are fun, but I’d like to try something different…

So I put the question to you, dear friends, who know me or read or listen to what I create, what would make a good Bob-session?

I’d love to hear your thoughts,

edit: Added Eva Blue’s picture, which inspired this post in the first place!

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  1. Great question, Bob. I find it a lot easier if someone just assigns me a topic and then it can be “tweaked” to suit me, so I can relate. A couple of speaking topics come to mind, although I am sure there are lots more you could talk on:

    – where do you get the inspiration to “create magic”. Where do you get your ideas from to keep creating? When you get stuck for ideas, do you have a way of getting “unstuck”?

    – where are things heading, what is next? How have things changed over the last few years and where we going?

    I’m sure others will have something more for you. I look forward to hearing one of your upcoming talks, whatever the topic.


  2. I think each of us has a hip pocket speech. We carry around a sliver of substance guaranteed to hold the attention of a group once we start talking about the idea in our hip pocket. I wonder what your hip pocket speech is. After listening to you and Mark Blevis for more than three years, I think you’re carrying around something like “My Friend Mic” or “You Know Me by My Ambience.” Both of those ideas (i.e., your mic is really important and ambient sound builds a connection) go to the core of your personal podcasting ethos. So I imagine you’re carrying the ideas around as hip pocket speeches.

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