Confessions of a Public Fast-Talker

Rikki Endsley

ROSE Blog: Rikki's Open Source Exchange

Nov 19, 2009 GMT
Rikki Kite

When I returned to my office from SC09 today, I found my requested review copy of Confessions of a Public Speaker on my desk. I plan to read it as soon as possible and I'll post my review here on this blog as part of my effort to see 2010 as The Year of WIOS at Events.

Today I also found an email from Klaatu with a link to his recording of my Ohio LinuxFest Diversity in Open Source talk. At first I decided I'd never listen to it because I hate hearing recordings of myself and I was pretty sure I'd be horrified by whatever off-the-cuff remarks I made, but then I reminded myself that you can't be good at everything – and you can't get good at anything unless you do it – and if all else fails: I'll frame it as a learning opportunity!

So I decided to listen to my talk. Woah! Here's the email I sent back to Klaatu:

Wow! My talk would be sooo much longer if I spoke soooo much slower. Thanks for posting that. I have a better appreciation for what a speed-talker I am.

Ok, so my public speaking could use a little – ok, a lot – of work. I'll make that a 2010 resolution: Slow down, for crying out loud! That resolution is a nice follow-up to my 2009 resolution to talk at one open source event (which led to me speaking at several in 2009).

Who's with me? Let me know if you're proposing your first talk or already planning to speak at an event in 2010. If you already speak at events, I'd love to hear what your plans are for your talks next year.

And let me recommend SCALE 8X as a particularly good way to test the waters of public speaking. More on the SCALE 8X Women in Open Source track coming soon!


  • Who talks faster?

    you, or me?
  • speed talking

    I'm really great at speaking too quickly. It happens when I get excited. The only thing that really puts the breaks on my tempo is when I'm feeling under the weather. This isn't exactly a great way to present though, but I do have one little trick. I put a few slides at the beginning that require audience feedback. Something funny, or shocking, or anything that you can think of where you (as a speaker) have to wait a few moments for the audience to respond. It doesn't always work, but sometimes it's just enough to remind me to slow everything down.
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