Alex Kazakov has been passionate about technology for as long as he can remember.
Now CTO of Glownet, a now 25-person company that makes RFID wristband technology for the event industry, he is often called upon as a mentor and coach to fellow engineers who rely on him for guidance and leadership—often to pursue new business challenges for the first time.
Since the earliest days of his career as a developer and now as a product owner who manages a team of developers, Alex has always gravitated towards opportunities to be a confident leader and coach. As a recognized role model, he has even presented at (and won) one of the largest business competitions in Russia.
But Alex felt that his accomplishments weren’t enough—he knew that he had room to improve. In his growth as a leader, Alex has amassed a wealth of firsthand expertise in the field of human technology. But unlike previous roles in which he was an individual contributor, he is now responsible for managing complex, cross-functional teams to achieve goals that sometimes don’t have a path forward—he found himself needing a better way to communicate his ideas across these groups.
“I never had any formal communication or public speaking training, and in many ways, I was winging it,” Alex shares. “An early lesson that I learned is that when projects fail or when ideas don’t come across, it usually isn’t because of the individual on the team—it’s because of real communication challenges. I knew that formal training would be valuable to me.”
Moreover, Alex wanted a way to share his and his team’s work more publicly with fellow technical and business leaders at industry conferences and panels.
It was these two goals that led Alex to Femgineer’s Confident Communicators Course. Despite being an experienced speaker and confident leader, he wanted to push his career to its next plateau.
Recognizing that He was Capable of Better—and Going for It
Alex knew that he wanted to become a stronger, more persuasive, and more compelling public speaker, but he thought that practicing and gaining more experience would be the only path forward. Then, he discovered Confident Communicators through a blog post that Femgineer’s founder Poornima had written.
Even though he was already an experienced manager, technology leader, and speaker who was advancing in his career, he knew that instruction from Poornima and Karen, two experienced speakers and technical leaders, would empower him with the skills he needed to become recognized on the conference circuit and share what he was learning as CTO of Glownet.
His first goal? Better storytelling.
“While I was pretty good at 1:1 communication where there was structure and a clear goal to the conversation, I was falling short in settings when I needed to pitch an idea or had time constraints,” Alex shares. “I would go in too many directions, and my audiences were getting bored.”
Through hands on instruction with Poornima and Karen, he learned how to translate his passion for and experience for human technology, a field that is dedicated to designing applications that helps people make wiser and better choices in their daily lives.
“The course helped me put together a step by step plan of how to prepare a speech—how to identify areas I’ll be speaking about and how to connect with audiences so that my speech would be more of a conversation than a lecture.”
Achieving His Goals and Seeing the Results of His Hard Work in Action
After months of practicing the lessons he learned from Confident Communicators, Alex found himself at the helm of an opportunity to put his new skills to action: a business school invited him to be a keynote keynote speaker in front of 170 business school students from 20 countries, all over the world.
“My talk was about how business school would help them in taking their careers to the next level,” Alex shares.
It was only after taking the stage that he realized how far he had come.
“I noticed I was very comfortable, walking around the stage and asking students to participate,” says Alex. “I’d look to the left. I’d look to the right. I’d ask the audience to participate, and they’d do it—it was very much a conversation instead of a lecture.”
It was this experience that helped Alex realize that he was finally the confident leader and communicator who he had always wanted to become.
Watch the full interview with Alex below.
Take Your Presentation Skills to the Next Level
If you’re like Alex, and want to take your presentation skills to the next level and get others to buy-in to your ideas, then enroll in Femgineer’s Confident Communicator Course. Registration ends Friday April 29, 2016.