Mozilla Tech Speaker Meetup in Berlin!

One month ago, in September, I spent my weekend in Berlin City, visiting the continent of Europe for the first time in my life, attending the Mozilla Tech Speaker meetup, together with Mozilla Tech Speakers from many places around the world.

In this meetup weekend, we spent two full days working together as we presented our 5-minute tech talks to the group. We had the honor to be coached by Denise Graveline, who came from Washington DC just for the meetup, and to learn from her experience coaching top TEDed speakers. We were thrilled by her tips in response to all the questions that come to mind in the tech and public speaking world.

I was really inspired to meet these lovely faces, friends I was used to working with online and had never met before.

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Below I will summarize our activities in these two days, and provide some useful tips I learned to improve my tech speaking and public speaking skills.

We started the days at a place called Betahaus, an awesome working space in Berlin, which has unique architecture and entrepreneurship culture; it is an open space which can be rented to host tech and business events.

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We were around 30 tech speakers, and each had to deliver a 5 minute tech talk. We did the tech talks in the mornings, so we could have the rest of the day for other activities. We had the chance to get feedback about our talks from the coach Denise Graveline and from the other tech speakers as well.

In the afternoon of the first day, we had the chance to visit Mozilla Berlin Office. And we were lucky to meet George Roter and many other Mozilla staff there, introducing us to the latest projects which Mozilla has been working on actively recently.

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On the second day, we had the chance to work on a biography session, improving our tech speaking bios. In addition, we created Mozilla slide decks to introduce Mozilla, Mozilla Dev Relations team, Tech Speakers Program and the Community and Participation team.

Here are a few tips I wrote about speaking, and hopefully you will find them helpful too.

  1. Introduce yourself at the beginning of the talk, but don’t speak too much, a line is enough.
  2. When starting the talk with a story, don’t prepare audience for the story, just start with it. Don’t add unnecessary introductions.
  3. If you start the talk with a story which is strong and funny, build rest of the talk on top of it.
  4. Don’t forget to make eye contact with the audience.
  5. Give your talk at a steady speed. Try to say 120 words per minute, which adds up to 600 words for 5 minutes.
  6. Use useful gestures and try to vary the tone of your voice over the timeline of your talk, based on your content.
  7. Always end your talk with an action: tell your audience what you want them to do.
  8. Use the Rule of 3, which recommends that you always mention 3 major points in your talk, or refer to 3 major points in your story. Similarly, while practicing your talk, focus on 3 main points about the talk, to help you remember them later.
  9. Pause between the main 3 sections of the talk for a few seconds.
  10. What to wear: when preparing for your talk, try to wear a color that does not blend with the wall color in the background behind the speaker’s podium, so you can be seen better on camera.
  11. When choosing the topic for your talk:
    1. Talk about something that interests you, also don’t make your talk too generic, and be unique in a way that makes this talk fit you.
    2. Talk about something you would like to hear and learn more about.
  12. Don’t stay still while talking on the stage, at the same time don’t move too quickly. In short, try to have your own unique style, and use the gestures that work best with your own style of talking.
  13. If you feel you have forgotten an important part of the talk, or you lose the main idea while talking, don’t listen to your brain, just continue the talk with whatever ideas come to mind that are relevant to the talk. This can help you recover the ideas quickly and continue.
  14. If you are organizing a group of talks in a meetup, it is good to have different talks styles and different time slots: 5 min, 8 min, 10 min, etc.
  15. If you are using slides for your talk, make sure to have one thought per slide.
  16. If the info you want to mention is on the slide, it should not come out of your mouth and vice versa.
  17. If you feel anxious about the talk, slow down while talking, try to take deep, slow breathes for seconds.
  18. Slow down while talking if you are not speaking in your own language.
  19. Finally, don’t forget to practice and prepare for the talk. This is so important you should consider it a top priority.

I hope you enjoyed my blog. Big thanks to the Mozilla team who helped make this event awesome! Havi Hoffman, Dietrich Ayala, and Michael Ellis.

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See you in future Mozilla events! Keep rocking the open web 🙂

 

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The Best of: TechWomen 2015

Writing about life experiences is something very interesting. Before anything else, it proves to myself what I’m capable of, this is something brings happiness to my heart and shows self respect. Moreover, as I’m considering now my passion in life “Learning and Giving”, I’m working entirely to bring this into life!

Today I’m writing about “Best talks and sessions I attended during the TechWomen” program in the Bay Area, CA.

TechWomen program is an Initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It is an exchange professional mentoring program to help inspire and empower next generation of women leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia.

I finished TechWomen program early of November 2015, after an amazing 35 days of professional mentoring at Mozilla Company, and attending lots of interesting talks and sessions hosted by Silicon Valley tech companies.

Here, I will mention two main sessions we had a chance to attend, hosted by two special companies. And in the coming blogs, I will write more about other sessions and events.

Program Orientation at Symantec

It was my first time ever visiting Symantec Headquarter in Mountain View, CA, and we met there with two awesome speakers who inspired us all with their wisdom and stories.

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Sheila Jordan, the Senior Vice President and the Chief Information Officer for Symantec. Sheila spoke to us about Personal Branding. Through her professional experience and her life journey, she was an inspiration to all the TechWomen group, giving us tips about how to work on our personal branding, and marketing plan, how to find our skills combination and how to be different and unique.

Rushton Hurley, gave us a special inspiring talk about Education and Educational Technologies. One of the best talks I ever attended. If you are in Education sector and looking forward to learn more about this, check the following website: Next Vista for Learning which provides resources and tools for teachers to look into.

One of the inspiring stories which Rushton mentioned is the Austin’s Butterfly story, which I believe is an important story in the learning process that the teachers should listen to, and then explain it to their students.

The other inspiring story he mentioned is called Heart Houses, and it tells the story of school kids trying to make a difference through their art!

Finally, Sue Austin: Deep sea diving … in a wheelchair.

Action Plan Workshop at Theranos.

We had been very lucky this year in the TechWomen program to be hosted by Theranos, for an action plan workshop.

Theranos, is a health-technology and medical-laboratory-services company based in Palo Alto, California. Founded by Elizabeth Holmes, who is the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire, who is working in field of high tech and health. We had a great chance to meet with her, hear from her startup experience, hear more about her passion and what steps took her to make the health information easily accessible for everyone by simple blood test that you can actually take at home with simple blood tests tools. More about Theranos.

The first session was about Brand Marketing and Social Media, given by Patrick O’Neill Chief Creative Officer at Theranos, and Jodi Shelley Director of Consumer Insights and Planning at Theranos. This one was focused on creating brand love, and reaching to customers by creating a caring product, engage with customers and understand their needs. After that, when designing a brand, to understand what is your message and how to communicate it effectively. A powerful brand has purpose, memorability and relevance.

Two famous brands stories had been discussed, Apple brand story and Unilever brand new video which touches the hearts, “Why bring a Child into this World?”.

The next session was about Agile Methodology, given by Cathy Simpson, who is a Scrum Trainer and Coach at Agile Learning Labs.

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Finally we had a chance to had a session about Making an Effective Pitch given by Andrea Barrica, Venture Partner at 500 Startups. In the following, some summarized tips to help making an effective pitch:

  1. Know your goal, know your audience. Hint: prepare more than one pitch.
  2. Tell a strategic story. Takes from 30 – 90 seconds. Taking into consideration this question: how does my story help me achieve my goal?
  3. Less is more! Be selective about details, it is about the other person.
  4. Know your special Sauce ! (Your team, your cause, your technology, etc).
  5. 20:1 rule! Practice 20 minutes loud for each 1 minute you want to present.
  6. You should have an authentic presence, yet quite powerful.