Book Update: How Present Yourself Started

Have you heard the news? We’re publishing a book! And we want you to be part of our journey. Sign up for weekly updates and be the first to hear about our Kickstarter launch in November. Below, we’re sharing the first edition of our Present Yourself The Book newsletter.

We’re so excited for you decided to join us on our journey to publish our upcoming book, Present Yourself. One of the great things about launching via Kickstarter is that our community (that’s you!) is involved from the beginning. We’ll be sharing every step with you all as we fund, build, and publish the book – starting with a little background. 

Our very own origin story

Present Yourself is a public speaking book on a mission to encourage more individuals to share their ideas, stories, and expertise. We believe everyone’s voice needs to be heard – especially those we don’t hear from enough. 

For those of you familiar with our work at Women Talk Design, you might recognize the name of “Present Yourself” -It’s what we call our 8-week online public speaking course. If you are just hearing all of this for the first time, let’s go back to the beginning. 

We’ve been running Present Yourself programs in some form or another for 5 years. In the fall of 2017, we ran the very first Present Yourself workshop. The idea for the workshop came from the research that interns Jennifer Kim and Melissa Kim were conducting around why there aren’t more women speaking at conferences.

One of 7 reasons they identified was lack of speaking experience. At this same time, Women Talk Design founder Christina Wodtke was running a GoFundMe campaign for Women Talk Design to pay for Jennifer and Melissa’s internship. There was a lot of momentum and folks wanted to help, so Christina made one of the funding levels a public speaking workshop. The goal: help women and nonbinary folks feel more confident public speaking so that they raise their hand for opportunities and we can change the ratio of whose voices we hear on stage.

We spent a full weekend teaching speakers how to go from an idea to a talk. Public speaking coaches warned us it was too much to fit into one weekend but we believed that getting folks to create a short talk in just two days, however quick and messy the process was, could be transformative. 

The energy of the group was contagious and we received such positive feedback. Here’s what one alumna shared in her feedback survey:

“This workshop has gotten me exponentially closer to a goal I have had for nearly a decade. I can’t believe I am walking away with a solid concept, outline, and a new community of support. Thank you!”

Since then, we’ve hosted the Present Yourself workshop in cities throughout the US, facilitated it internally for corporations, and adapted it so we could teach it online. We’ve learned so much over the years working with hundreds of new and experienced speakers and dozens of instructors. And now we’re putting it all into a book because we believe the content is too important not to share more widely.

Thanks again for being here. Each week, in addition to shedding insight into our book journey, we’ll share a little bit about what Present Yourself is all about.

A piece of Present Yourself: What’s your why?

We just shared our reasons for creating Present Yourself and touched on why we’re turning it into a book. A big part of the Present Yourself program (in all of its iterations) is honing in on the why behind how you share your voice and what you choose to talk about. Take some time to write down all of the reasons you want to share your voice. Then, circle the one that matters to you most *right now*. Use this as a jumping off point to determine what you want to share, who you want to share it with, and where you’ll share it.

Milestone Marker

This week, we’ve been working with a designer from our community – Laneen – to create a visual identity for the book’s Kickstarter launching next month. While we’re staying close to the Women Talk Design brand (for now) we’re excited to give the book its own special touch. Keep an eye on our social media and this newsletter to spot the extras!

Sign up to get future updates delivered to your inbox. And please help us spread the word!

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