Agafonov Slava Digest about software

Public speaking and pitching your ideas

Being anxious about speaking leads to many costly outcomes. The fear associated with presenting in front of others is pervasive and problematic. The word “anxiety” comes from the Latin word “angusta,” which translates to “a narrowing corridor that presses down on one passing through.” Thus, anxiety refers to the concern of not making it through something, like a presentation or meeting. The anxiety that originates from speaking in front of others is known as communication apprehension. This apprehension is both the real-time anxiety associated with actually speaking and the anxiety that comes with just thinking about speaking. If you asking for funding and you don't get this funding you get anxious. If we can see it as opportunity and like conversation it can minimize this anxiety. Visualization can be very helpful, just do deep breath, get a good night sleep, do not hide your nervousness, just play with it. Expectation from people is not that you are perfect, fake it till you make it, and make an eye contact. Imaging what it would be like if you can be on the stage and you can pitch your idea to angel investors and can connect to these people, if they can see you as more confident?

Paraphrase question, reframe it, pause and got it right. From your prospective you should know your audience. Where is this presentation, what is the culture look like, and what people are willing to do. Humor is wonderful, but it is very risky. Sometimes is what your think is funny can be not funny to others. There is nothing worse is try to setup joke and if nobody laugh. Ask other people, what if does not work, do I have a backup plan? If you see that people asking "why" type of questions, they can challenge you. Ask for advice, and establish connection with another communicator. Starting with something like this: "I am just excited to be here."

Here are couple advices from Matt Abrahams: You may have plenty to say, but it just not coming out in the right way. Well, this is normal response to the threat, it is anxiety response. There are consequences, it means a lot, for instance if it is job interview you can lose your chance. Pretend like you have a beer in your hand and you are talking to your friends. Hide your tells like a poker player.

How to rock the stage!? When was the last time when you were bored? Just kill me now bored? Nanogirl Dr Michelle Dickinson presentation is so cool and I am also impressed by Microsoft evangelist - James Whittaker. I know him from MSFT, because I watched him working with big crowed of people inside Microsoft. He is professional speaker by far. Conversation between Michelle and James is pretty interesting to watch, for instance just to compare styles and personalities for fun and to learn how to behave on the stage.

James talked to Bill Gates and Larry Page. He shaked hand with Bill and talked for a little while to him, it was something that James was thinking a long time. He said "Oh sheet, I am from Florida and I am doing software testing." Bill was bored and James looked him in the eye and said "Mr. Gates, I test software, because the computer on the every desk and every home that does not work is no contribution to humanity SIR." Bill kept James hand and asked what was your name again!? He did not tell him his name before, but he was hooked already. He putted brain of the listener on alert. Mister Whittaker is good story teller, he gives your a bit insight into his life. He uses phrases like this this: "I am going to talk about future because present pisses me off." 

How to pitch your ideas? James Whittaker is ready to teach entrepreneurs to convince people. Explaining how to deliver powerful story makes your idea come alive. There are a lot of voices on the web, you cannot be louder, but more important. Some people do not know what is the first opening line. People will pay attention about 2 minutes, after this the lose it. Dream big, try to change the world and do it with stories advice by James.

Spontaneous situations or cold calls from investor or somebody at work.

Sometimes, even when you know your position, coming up with a thesis can be a difficult task. One way to create a thesis statement is to build it piece by piece. First, what is your claim or argument? Second, how will you prove this claim? Finally, why does your claim matter? Through (how) , we can see that (what) , which is important because (so what). What, so what, now what?


How to give feedback especially constructive feedback. First, you want to reduce defensiveness. We should own what we are saying. Second, invite people to invite solve problem with you. Let's solve this problem together. Are you going to give it yourself or with others? I am not vague and I am very specific, something that is measurable, after this you can give consequences. Best approach is to start positive consequences first and than if it does not work you go with negative.

 Effective body language is another skill  that you don't want to miss, how you deliver your message is more important is more important than what you say. Are you credible, are you confident? Audience see your body, you want to take space. Nervous speakers make themselves small and uncomfortable. Try to be in straight and balanced position, expose your hands like you are doing handshake. Try to be relaxed, you want to avoid to look like dinosaur with gestures. Eye contact is critical, please stop staring at floor, but do not focus on anyone too long. When you move from one point to the next you can check out notes if you have any. If you are in the meeting try to remain open, clear a deck near you, sometimes you can have tendency to get something in your hand to play with, try to avoid it. It is critical to show your audience that you are confident and come with non verbal behavior.



Don't worry, audience is very forgiven. Think about message, what are the key points that you want to get across. Define some themes that you want to reveil and than practice that. It works in the last stage and in the board room meeting. Structure is very important: 1) Is it highly unified? (unity is a key), central point will get you back on track. 2) Do you support your points of view, how this support is related to central point. 3) Does it make sense, is it coherent? 4) Is it engaging, our job as speakers is to pull people forward from they seats rather than push them back. If your structured, unified, and engaged than you probably have done a good job. Just relax yourself and breath.

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