Speaker Support of Awesomeness: How I went from stage fright to stage presence and want to help others do the same.

Accepted Session
Short Form
Scheduled: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 from 3:45 – 4:30pm in B202/203


Once upon a time, I was terrified of public speaking. I went from having stage fright to being a stage presence who speaks at conferences. I run a support group for old and new speakers called the "Tech Conf Speaker Support of Awesomeness." I want to talk about what we do, why we do it, and how well it's worked out so far. This talk is about speaking for the first time, improving your talks, and how conference organizers and attendees can help too.


I want to make conferences more fun, more interesting, and more diverse. I’m sick of the same old speakers giving the same talks over and over. I want to hear new voices giving different perspectives. A great way to do that is supporting new speakers and giving them the tools to be awesome.

In this talk, I will share advice for speakers and people who want to support them including, but not limited to:

  • Why encouraging new speakers (including yourself) is important and how you can help.
  • How to battle stage fright, impostor syndrome, and other nasty monsters.
  • Tips and tricks for a great first talk (ideas, and slides, and presentation skills, oh my!).

My advice comes from experiences in several roles that help me understand public speaking for different perspectives.

  • New speaker – I went from terrified of public speaking to giving three well-received conference talks in a year.
  • Support group organizer – I organize an online support group that helps both new and experienced speakers.
  • Conference organizer – I was a conference organizer for two years and facilitated the proposal and selection process.
  • Audience member – I attend several conferences a year and have identified some patterns for great talks (and anti-patterns for the not-so-great ones).

Want to start public speaking, but not sure where to start? Sick of seeing the same people speaking all the time? Frustrated with poorly prepared talks? Excited to improve the diversity of voices and ideas on stage? Then this is the talk for you!


public speaking, support, organizing, conferences

Speaking experience

You can find a full list of my speaking experience on my site: http://juliepagano.com/speaking/

You can find slides, video, and rough transcripts of a recent talk I gave at Nickel City Ruby in September 2013. http://juliepagano.com/blog/2013/11/02/it-s-dangerous-to-go-alone-battling-the-invisible-monsters-in-tech/

This will be the first conference where I will give this specific talk.