I’ve been away these past few days hence a break from these pages but I wanted to recap on my first experience of public speaking beyond best man speeches and a few words to work colleagues at staff meetings.
I was speaking on the topic of social networking at LINX66, the quarterly membership meeting for the London Internet Exchange. This is an event for up to 130 Internet industry professionals notably operators of Internet Protocol networks. What’s more there were dozens more watching on the webcast. This made for a tough first gig as the Internet community have tended to be fairly unforgiving towards marketing people talking on non-technical subjects in my experience.
Initially my slot was for just five minutes and was simply designed to be an update on how LINX was using social networking with particular reference to Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. That’s not a lot of time to talk about anything but I was able to eek out another five following a late re-arrangement of the agenda. This meant that I followed the sponsor presentation and was last on before the first coffee break on the first day.
Now, my tactics for this session was to begin in a self-mocking tone and make reference to my marketing background and non-technical topic to a) hopefully get a laugh and b) to avoid coming over as a pretentious marketing stereotype. By and large this worked.
My presentation was split into mini-chunks which explained the LINX position including our LINX Network Community brand, stats relating to our chosen social networking services and an example how Twitter can be useful in business. I closed by summing up of how social networking is just another communication tool and need not replace anything.
As events unfolded I sensed things were going pretty well though I perhaps didn’t make as much eye contact as I could’ve done. However, I was still aware of many faces looking at me rather than their laptops which is always a good sign and before I knew it it was all over.
I then asked for questions from the floor and part of me was hoping there wouldn’t be any but there was and as it turned out it was a good one. This is because it picked up on a point I had forgotten to raise in my original talk – other social networking sites such as Facebook and Bebo and why we weren’t using them. My answer essentially explained that we were still testing the water and rather than spread ourselves too thin we wanted to gauge how our chosen services would perform first. This seemed a reasonable response so with that I was done and I left the stage with a nice round of applause.
Overall not too daunting and nice to get the experience under my belt. At the beginning of the year I had said to myself that I wanted to do a presentation at the meeting but had no idea on what topic at that stage. Purely by putting that thought out there I made it happen even if it was subconsciously because it wasn’t until the Spring that LINX was involved in social networking. Strange how things work out.