Synergy Speakers – how to boost your public speaking skills? 

Synergy Speakers – how to boost your public speaking skills? 

Wojciech Gąciarz

10 min
Synergy Speakers – how to boost your public speaking skills? 

Have you ever felt awkward before an important presentation? Reporting to your boss or client makes you apprehensive? Or maybe you dream of participating in a big conference but don’t believe in yourself? Well, you are not alone because lots of developers feel the same. That’s why we launched Synergy Speakers – an internal initiative that helps our colleagues boost their public speaking skills. Read further to get to know more!  

Synergy Speakers – our internal public speaking workshops  

Synergy Speakers is an internal initiative aiming to prepare eager Synergy Codes employees for public speaking. We plan to increase the number of speakers that could represent our company at conferences, trade fairs, and other events. We know that we are seasoned developers and designers. Still, we also know that we need to increase our public speaking skills to present our expertise in an accessible and engaging way.   

So that the foundations for Synergy Speakers were laid, we had to figure out how to learn to speak confidently in public.  

First step – the workshop on practical techniques for preparing and conducting presentations  

Soon we realized we needed a teacher to show us how to improve our skills. That’s why we invited to our headquarters an external specialist who conducted a 2-day workshop on practical techniques for preparing and conducting presentations. During workshops, participants worked on fragments of their presentations that they would get through in the future.  

The first day was dedicated to learning how to prepare a frame for a presentation and which specific narration speakers should choose to engage listeners. Each speaker had to answer the question about the strategic goal for their presentations, who their listeners were, and what questions they had. We learned some techniques for building an engaging narration for a presentation and its content and form.  

On the second day, we focused on public speaking. We learned some techniques about how to manage stress during presentations and how to deal with a demanding audience.  

Second step – to work out and strengthen public speaking skills  

Workshops equipped us with practical knowledge. However, we needed to solidify it. The best way was to use our new skills in practice. So we decided to organize other workshops for eager-to-learn speakers once in 6 weeks, where every participant could present prepared in advance presentation and get feedback from other participants. The formula was effective because we could test our skills in a friendly environment without stress and apprehensiveness. After the presentation, a speaker could indicate what was good in his presentation and what could be done better, and after that, he got feedback from the rest of the group.  

Our mentor Dawid held the workshops because he is the most experienced with public speaking during events.   

However, after a couple of months, the formula was exhausted. We were skilled enough to test ourselves in something more challenging. So, our mentor came up with the idea that every participant should set a goal, for instance, an event that could be a chance for him to test his skills in practice. Our goals are unique and different, from presenting live at a meet-up for developers to participating in an educational webinar broadcasting live in the Internet. But speaking publicly is their common denominator. To prepare ourselves well, we used a framework that helped us create top-notch presentations.  

How to prepare a successful presentation?  

People usually face the same problem preparing a presentation. They are paralyzed and try to do everything all at once. To avoid this common problem, we use a framework that helps us organize our work and, step by step, prepare a successful presentation.  

First and foremost, a speaker should develop a main thought or message that he wants to leave the audience with. Next, he should define his audience, that is, figure out who his listeners are, what they want to know, what questions they can have, and what is their seniority level. You can only think about the presentation title and abstract once you figure out these two elements. Knowing your audience makes choosing a communication style easier because you can pass the same information in various ways. And that’s why it’s so vital to match it with your audience. The last step in preparing a presentation is to develop an agenda and a list of slides.   

To simplify working on the framework, our mentor prepared its visual representation – a board consisting of 6 elements:  

  • Main message
  • Target audience profile 
  • Presentation topic 
  • Abstract  
  • Presentation style  
  • Agenda  
  • List of slides 

Each workshop participant can use this board to prepare one or more presentations for scheduled events.  

Following this process, a speaker can easily create content for each presentation slide, dedicating just a few hours. It is also possible to pass preparing a presentation to someone else because the completed framework is sufficient information about how the presentation should look and what information ought to include.   

Case study – let’s see how the framework works in practice  

One of our colleagues, Mateusz, will be a host in one of the episodes of Synergy Caffe. In this youtube series, we share knowledge and experiences about a chosen topic. 

Mateusz’s chosen topic is “Introduction to graph technology”, and his main goal is to teach the audience about the benefits of using graphs in IT projects. He tries to explain graphs, their usage and how to create them autonomously.  

In the video, Mateusz defines essential terms such as graphs, nodes, edges, paths, and algorithms. Next, he presents graphs’ usage areas in mathematics and data visualization. And finally, teach how to create graphs using paid and open source libraries and indicates difficulties within this process.  

Mateusz used specific questions from the framework that concerned his audience to define who could be his listeners:  

  1. What is the listener’s age, position, and seniority level?
  2. What is his biggest problem?  
  3. What annoys him about the topic?  
  4. What would he like to achieve, and what knowledge to get?  
  5. What are his authority figures?  
  6. What position he would like to accomplish in the future?  
  7. What are his hobbies?  
  8. What could be his possible questions?  

Knowing his audience, he could decide what will be his communication style and answers to the questions above helped him determine the final topic and abstract. Based on all of these, it was simple to prepare agenda and divide it into a list of slides. 

Elevating public speaking skills: Synergy Speakers workshops empower developers to shine on stage

Synergy Speakers helped some of our colleagues become confident presenters. Through practical workshops and ongoing practice sessions, we learn techniques for engaging audiences, managing stress, and delivering outstanding presentations. We practice in a supportive group, and our proven framework simplifies the presentation creation process.  

After one year of Synergy Speakers workshops, we are ready to showcase our expertise at conferences, meetups, and more. Would you like to boost your public speaking skills? Step up, embrace the challenge, and let your voice be heard with Synergy Speakers!