why do i speak as a programmer

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why do i speak as a programmer

July 16th, 2017 by Jeanne Boyarsky

I was at Toastmasters officer training and someone in my group asked if being a DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster) has helped professionally. The trainer for our group doesn’t work in a field where she speaks so not really. I mentioned that it has helped me. I joined Toastmasters to get better at presenting technical content in a humorous and engaging way. I’m definitely better at that than when I started. I’m also more comfortable dealing with unexpected events while speaking.

But what really surprised me was the sharp decrease in the time it takes me to prepare for a presentation. That alone has helped me professionally. I had an opportunity to speak to between 100 and 200 people at the NY Java User Group. I joke that I was the “opening act” for Maurice Naftalin. People registered to hear him speak about Java. He wasn’t able to arrive at the start of the meeting so the group needed someone to speak for 30 minutes. On three days notice, I was able to do it and do a good job. (And I spent most of that three days doing other things.) That decreased preparation time is something that Toastmasters has helped me with!

The person with the question asked why I speak as a programmer. He commented that it makes sense for business analysts. But implied us programmers only talk to computers. So why speak do I as a programmer?

  • Teaching and mentoring – Whether it is a short training session and work or speaking at a conference, being a more effective speaker helps people learn better.
  • Audits – I work for a bank which means we have regular audits. Being able to explain what we do (without being nervous) is a useful skill.
  • Work presentations – Pitching an idea, design meetings, etc.
  • Writing – Scott and I have written three books and this blog. Yes, I know writing isn’t speaking. But some of the skills translate. Like organizing your material.
  • Networking – It’s useful when people google you that they find stuff :).

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