What Trevor Noah Learns About Public Speaking in His First Episode

By Poornima Vijayashanker If you enjoy watching The Daily Show like me, then you were probably curious to watch the first episode last Monday with the new host, Trevor Noah. In the episode, Trevor’s first guest is Kevin Hart, a fellow comedian. At 2:27 in the clip, Trevor is amazed at Kevin’s success but mentions that he was always concerned about Kevin’s height… Kevin’s response: He mentions how someone once told him, “Man, you’re a lot smaller than I thought you was.” His response was priceless: ... Read more

2 Simple Steps to Start Getting Paid to Speak

  By Poornima Vijayashanker A little over 2 years ago, I discovered that people were getting paid big money to speak. I found out that NYTimes best-selling authors make at least $25K-$50K per engagement and Fortune 500 CEOs make $100K to $400K per engagement … for one talk! I had been speaking at events and conferences for a few years at that point, but I wasn’t on either of those levels. I’d never been paid to speak at all! I had gotten over most of ... Read more

It’s Only Natural to Get Nervous

By Poornima Vijayashanker Last week was a pretty big week for me. My alma mater, Duke, won its 5th NCAA championships, whoohoo!! (Yeah, I’m currently wearing my hoodie…) And out of the blue, I was invited to sit in on an internal keynote a Fortune 500 CPO delivered to his staff. The purpose of the keynote was to encourage people to start speaking in public. So I was really surprised when the first words out of the CPO’s mouth were that he gets ... Read more

Stuck in your Career? Here’s a Tip that May Scare You

By Karen Catlin It's happened to all of us. A promotion denied. Feeling stuck in our careers. Frustrated by the recognition others get while we're working just as hard, if not more. At some point, you decided you had to change something to push forward your career. Maybe you started blogging or tweeting. Perhaps you started building more relationships with people at work. Now you're ready to do even more to increase your professional visibility. As scary as it seems, you know what ... Read more

Stop Being Serious ALL the Time

By Poornima Vijayashanker It’s been a really fun two weeks at Femgineer! Karen and I have been filming lessons for our upcoming Confident Communicator Course. And in case you’re curious about how much fun we’re having, well I’ve included a few funny pics from our sessions together. Once we’re done filming all the lessons, I’m definitely going to get to work on the a blooper reel to share with students in the course. Now it’s not all fun and games at Femgineer… OK it’s like ... Read more

You Don’t Need to be Social to Speak

By Poornima Vijayashanker This post is based on my Confident Communicator Course, which I teach once a year. If you're interested in learning more about the course and participating in it, you can check it out here. I was by no means a social butterfly as a kid. I didn’t fear approaching people one-on-one, but in group settings I was pretty shy and kept quiet. In fact, one of the reasons I joined the debate team in middle school and high school was because I ... Read more

Pursuing a career in tech? Ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that can happen?”

Poornima Vijayashanker I was recently invited to speak on a panel at LA Techweek along with Susan Paley and Laura Goldberg moderated by Kim Lachance-Shandrow. One of my favorite quotes from the panel was from Laura Goldberg. I think it set the stage really well for the topics and strategies we covered such as: Why knowing how to code isn't enough Transitioning into tech from other industries  How technology has given us a lot of freedom and flexibility in our careers How technology has given women a voice How right ... Read more

What do I talk about?

By Poornima Vijayashanker I received a wonderful set of responses from readers like you last week on my post your presentation won’t please everyone. Thank you for sharing and teaching me! Many of you seem to be comfortable getting up and presenting to an audience, large or small, and being OK with a mixed audience. However, there were a number of folks who reached out and told me that they hadn’t given a presentation because they felt like they didn’t have any particular ... Read more

3 Questions to Ask Yourself When Preparing a Presentation

By Poornima Vijayashanker This week one of my primary goals was to create an outline for my upcoming TEDx talk: Taking the Time to Tinker. The talk isn’t until May 10th, but the folks at TED take these talks very seriously and believe in early preparation! My coordinator, Gail, scheduled a call with my for Friday morning at 10am. During the week, I had a lot of work I had to focus: I had to present at a Femgineer Forum, teach my Lean ... Read more

Learning How to Communicate Compassionately and Confidently Takes Time

By Poornima Vijayashanker People reach out to me and tell me that they'd LOVE to improve their speaking style but they just don’t have time… Let’s tackle time. I’ve had a couple jobs where I’ve dreaded having 1-1s with my boss. I’d walk in, they’d ask me to sit down, then they’d start talking… Next thing I knew, 30 minutes was gone, and they would have been talking the whole time, while I proceeded to politely nod my head. They’d tell me things I ... Read more
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