Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast we’re coming to you live from the Salesforce London World Tour to talk to two incredible UK community leaders, Keir Bowden and Jodi Wagner, to find out about their amazing program, the Speaker Academy.

More about this London Special episode: how the Speaker Academy got started, how they developed their curriculum, and how you can get started working on your public speaking.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Jodi Wagner and Keir Bowden.

Live from London World Tour.

This episode comes live amidst the hustle and bustle of the London World Tour, and Gillian could not pass up the chance to talk to the founders of the Speaker Academy. “The Speaker Academy was Keir’s and my brainchild, and it was born out of the fact that we had A.) the same speakers all the time at World Tour and different events, and B.) most of them were men,” says Jodi.

“I’d done a talk at Dreamforce a few years ago about public speaking,” Keir says, “but in terms of how we actually reached people that was all Jodi.” That was about going to Women in Tech meetings, the Developer User Group, and anywhere they thought there would be people who wanted to speak. “We went from 6 people who we used as test subjects to refine our program and just started growing,” Jodi says.

A community that supports each other.

“It’s a six-week program,” Keir says, “it starts out with us presenting quite a lot and we get people to speak a bit, but as we go the amount of talking we do starts to overtake the amount of teaching we do, and the last couple of weeks they’re just presenting to us and we’re critiquing their presentation.”

They’ve been doing the program for a couple of years, and there were three or four speakers just in the Admin Theater at Dreamforce 2017 that absolutely rocked it with how prepared they were. “That’s why I do all of this,” Jodi says, “I love to watch people grow and develop, and two things happen in our program: people get better, and they also get used to speaking in front of each other.” The bonding experience of going through it together and the growth that she witnesses is a huge part of why se’s so passionate about it.

How you can improve your public speaking.

When it comes to becoming a good speaker, the secret is just to practice. “The first talk that I did was for one of the Developer meetups, I volunteered to do it because I thought it would help my career, and then I did it I thought, ‘What have I done? This is going to be awful,’” Keir says, “I was terrified at the thought of getting up because I thought everyone was going to start arguing with me and telling me I was wrong but that was just Imposter Syndrome.” The more you do it the more you start forgetting about the mechanics of it and start focusing on connecting with an audience. Practice really does make perfect.

“I’ll be really honest,” Jodi says, “I had to take public as a formal class three times because I was petrified.” The moment of inspiration came when she was dragged up at User Group to help present something. “We talk a lot about Imposter Syndrome and you know, people are not going to heckle you— most people in the community are here to support you.” The key is just to challenge yourself and do it over and over again and know that you’ll get better as you keep on working on it. “Nothing can happen up there that will actually kill you, so start worrying about the things you can control: make sure that you’re prepared, that your demo is ready, your deck is ready, that you know your lines” Keir says, “once you get up on stage it’s never as bad, it’s always the thinking about it beforehand of what might happen that scares you.”

If you want to be a part of the Speaker Academy, get in touch with Jodi or Keir (Twitter is always great and we have links below), and take a look at the Trailhead module for Public Speaking to get started.

Resources

Twitter

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