One of the main reasons we wanted to offer our 8-week Present Yourself course as an online program was to make it more accessible to our entire global community, allowing participants to learn on their own time while still having the support and feedback of a live cohort. The online format opened up the possibility of offering expertise from a variety of experts and guest speakers in our community.
With our second Cohort of 2022 kicking off this week, we asked alumni for feedback on the topics and structure throughout the course and what they found most useful upon finishing. Here is what one alumni had to say in her own words – meet Natalie!
Natalie is a Content Designer at HubSpot, focusing on commerce. She’s been working in UX for about five years and, more recently, has had more opportunities to speak across the company. Those experiences got her thinking about doing a conference talk but she didn’t know where to start with limited speaking experience. That’s why she decided to take Present Yourself.
WTD: What were your goals for public speaking heading into the course? What kind of speaking are you most interested in?
Natalie: I didn’t have a topic in mind yet – the course really helped me generate ideas, which is great. But that was partially why I was so excited about the course – the opportunity to generate ideas. I came out of it with a whole bunch of ideas and a lot of different options to pursue.
As a Content Designer, of course, I’d love to speak at Confab or Button – that would be the ideal, right? I’m remote now but I spent several years working in Boston so I have definitely also thought about doing a UXPA talk with one of my designers for the local Boston conference. So just looking for opportunities to plug in and really think about who my audience would be based on the kind of talks that I want to give. Next year, I’m hoping to find the right event as I’m developing what topic is right.
WTD: Heading into Present Yourself, what were you most excited about? What made you commit?
Natalie: One of the reasons that I decided to take the Present Yourself course was because I took [another] workshop just on generating ideas and I accomplished more in that hour or hour and a half than in any other workshop or course that I’d taken virtually over the past year. I was like, “Okay, this is definitely going to be a worthwhile investment if this is what I’m getting out of this.”
WTD: What part of the course was most useful to you?
Natalie: Since I’m a content designer, I instinctively think of things in terms of story and meaning and messaging, but I had never had a tactical structure for applying that to giving presentations. And so something that was really useful for me was going through that CAMP acronym and starting to think about, “What’s the structure of this going to be? How do I build a presentation that is infused with story and stories?” Rather than having that be something that I try to cram in at the end.
Also the amount of material – there was so much and it was all so good. Other courses that I’ve taken, it’s like, “Okay, this piece might be relevant to me and maybe this one.” So it’s more pick and choose. But in this course, all of it is so relevant and all of it so good. It is really rich.
Unfortunately, during the course, I had an overlapping meeting that made it really tough for me to come to the live sessions. But what was so lovely was that all the material was recorded or linked to and so I could really do it at my own pace. I wish that I had had the opportunity to interact more with folks in the course but I loved that I could sit down on a Saturday and spend a couple of hours watching these different TED Talks and [diving into] resources and really starting to think about how I might apply some of those resources myself.
WTD: How do you feel the tools you learned in the course set you up to achieve your goals?
Natalie: The tools I got from Present Yourself were absolutely incredible. I mean, they’re so evergreen – especially the storytelling structures and some of the acronyms that you learn. I can see myself using those over and over again. And that was my biggest takeaway from the course, honestly – having ways to think about how to put a presentation together and make it really compelling. That’s priceless for me.
WTD: Do you have any advice for others taking the course?
Natalie: Advice that I’d have for someone taking the course is really blocking out the time to dig into some of the materials even if you can’t make the live sessions. There were a couple of weeks where it was tough for me to break out the time to really dive into some of the great examples that were linked out to but in the weeks that I made the time to do that, it just made it so much easier for me to apply what I was learning from the course.
Thank you Natalie for diving into Present Yourself and for sharing your experience with us! We’re so glad to have you as part of our community and can’t wait to see what’s next!
We still have two more Present Yourself Cohorts scheduled for 2022! If you’ve been thinking about moving your speaking career forward or taking your presenting skills to the next level, sign up now to be the first to know when enrollment opens again. We also have resources available to ask your employer for reimbursement and advice on how to prepare and get the most out of the program.
Have questions? Reach out to us anytime via our website or social and we’ll be happy to answer them!