Remote Confidence: Don’t Give Up On Speaking Just Yet

n April 2020, we launched a temporary newsletter called ‘Remote Confidence”. During a time when many people were giving presentations remotely for the first time and others were struggling to pivot their speaking or teaching career as conferences and campuses closed and move online, we wanted our community to know they were not alone. The newsletter featured a tip or trick to speak, teach, facilitate, or meet remotely with confidence from our network of experienced speakers. Because we wanted presenting remotely to be one less thing everyone should have to worry about. Here was our first post.

“You may be panicked personally and thinking all of this opportunity is gone. It is actually that the opportunity is just transformed.” — Denise Jacobs

Our world has changed overnight. It’s tempting to think that right now there are no opportunities for speakers. However, as Denise said in our recent Couch Conversations, speaking is not gone. It’s just changed. There are still opportunities to speak, teach, and present, just online!

Where do you find the new opportunities? Denise recommends reaching out to conference organizers whose in-person conferences are on hold or canceled, and ask if there are any plans to take the conference online. If so, offer to be of help to them. There will be new opportunities for online speaking and teaching that didn’t exist before in that conference.

Margot Bloomstein recommends reaching out to community organizers. “Maybe it’s the people that run the local UX meetup, or the small business association always looking to bring in speakers.” They may not have a budget or an in-person meeting anymore, but they are likely in the process of creating an event over Zoom. If you can be the speaker who’s easy to work with, whose first talk is polished, this is where you can start out. Offer to give a talk as part of their next online event. 

We are living at a time when we have the opportunity to connect with audiences in new ways. Being forced to make connections entirely online allows us to be of service in a way we could not or were not before. How can we help? Who can we connect with? There is always a need, and always an opportunity to be useful as a speaker to someone.

Idea for Action: Make an “opportunity list” with possible outlets for your speaking skills online, right now. Then, reach out to one person or conference from the list to see how you can be of help.

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