Benefits of the Unnatural

Recently, I spoke at a local meet-up group about a technical topic I had some experience with. I had done this several times before, so it wasn’t a huge deal for me. However, I am far from a natural speaker, and I am still working to become a better presenter.

Presenting is not a natural ability for most people. It takes work to perfect public speaking, and sometimes it requires you to overcome fear. Many people think about presenting to a group and then stop because they are either afraid of speaking in public or don’t see a reason to do it. Below are several reasons why you should think about presenting publicly—even if it isn’t natural for you.

Why You Should Present

1. Presenting in front of a group is good practice.
As Dave Ramsey says, “Everyone is in sales.” As developers, we are constantly selling stuff. What we sell may range from a reason you need a new software tool to a simple pitch to implement a component a certain way. A big part of selling is being able to clearly present your idea. There isn’t a better place to practice presenting than in front of a group of people! The more practice you get in front of a group, the better you will be at presenting your ideas at work to your colleagues or superiors. You never know when you might find yourself in a situation where you need to present something to a group of VPs or C-level executives.

2. You know something that someone else doesn’t.
Your first thought might be that you are not as qualified as someone else to present about some topic. You might be right, but you are almost certainly more experienced on that topic than someone else. We are all at different stages in our careers, and you might be surprised how many people can learn something from your talk.

3. Public presentations are a great way to boost your career.
If you are looking to advance in your development career, speaking at local meet-up groups is a great way to take the next step. Presenting is an effective way to get your name out in the community. Presentations are also something that you can put on your resume to show you are experienced and active in a particular area. Employers love candidates who are active in their field.

4. Being active in a local developer community is fun!
There are many meet-up groups that are always looking for presenters. Consider going to a couple and seeing what they are like. You never know who you might meet or what you might learn. Plus, many groups provide free food and drinks!

While there are challenges to presenting, there are great benefits as well. Hopefully these benefits will help you as you consider presenting to a local meet-up group.

A good place to find local interest groups is on meetup.com. Pick one or two and attend a few meetings. You will likely find they are open to people presenting and constantly need new presenters. Enjoy the free pizza!

  • Edward Delaporte

    I have an upcoming presentation. I was starting to feel a little burned out by the process of preparing for it. This is a refreshing reminder of why all the effort is worth it. Thanks!

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