Friday, January 19, 2018

Famous Speech Friday: Mary Meeker's 2017 Internet trends report

She breaks every rule in the book with her annual presentation. She tends to wear unremarkable black. Her slide deck is enormous, with more than 300 slides for a 30-minute time slot. Her charts have too much type on them, many impossible to read from the audience. Her delivery is staccato, clipped, fast-talker fast, and often monotone.

But Mary Meeker, a venture capitalist with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, gives what is arguably the most famous annual slide presentation in any industry. Her slide deck this year has more than 1.8 million views on SlideShare at this writing and, unlike yours or mine, is pored over for clues and hints as to what this expert on the digital space foresees for the year ahead.

For Meeker, it is what it is. Her beginning--almost a warning to the audience--tells you this is not going to be some kind of inspiring TED talk: "This presentation is meant to be read, it's not meant to be presented, so it is online at KleinerPerkins.com and elsewhere, so please do not take notes and I apologize for the speed at which I will go through this." Her delivery is not without humor, pauses, or expressiveness, although it is a workmanlike effort to get through a lot of material.

The presentation is not as unremarkable as that sounds. In fact, it carries huge influence. For one relatively new private ad tech company, Vungle, being featured on slide 27 of Meeker's 355-slide deck this year meant instant fame: "Large investors, the type that you would dream about reaching out to you, are courting you and your board," [Vungle co-founder and CEO Zain] Jaffer, 29, said. "Now I'm being asked what I would do if I had an 'extra $100 million or $200 million.'"

What can you learn from this famous speech?
  • Content matters: Meeker's annual report is sought after because of its unique and comprehensive look at all the major internet and digital trends of the day--not just a data dump, but trenchant analysis, distilled so it makes sense. Yes, you can have a 355-page distillation. On occasion. This presentation is eagerly awaited each year for the content, which is stellar. It adds value. Don't let anyone tell you your content doesn't matter. It does.
  • If you're going to buck the rules, explain how: Meeker's early disclaimer that the slides are not meant to be presented is there for a reason: To be sure her audiences (those in front of her and the virtual gang) understand her intention. But it's a useful reminder for speakers: Your slides are not the be-all end-all of your presentation.
  • Throw me a sparse summary to keep my understanding high: Throughout the deck, you'll see nearly blank slides with just a few words of summary highlighting and summarizing the trend data she's discussing. "Ad Growth = Driven by Mobile" is one example. Those short markers ensure her audience can follow along and get the gist of what the longer, more complex data slides will back up in later reading.
This isn't necessarily a format to emulate, but one to marvel at in the hands of a master. I follow Meeker's report every year, and learn much from it. You can see the full slide deck here, and watch the entire talk in the video here or below:


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Thursday, January 18, 2018

"Find your voice and use it:" New book encourages women speakers

A British writer gave two powerful lectures on women and their right to express themselves, and they were published as a book that went on to be a manifesto for women's right to an independent voice that had a huge impact on women for decades. I'm referring, of course, to the lectures that became Virginia Woolf's masterpiece A Room of One's Own. But there is a new manifesto out, one that also combines two lectures with an equal power to inspire women on public speaking and the power that comes with it.

Women and Power A Manifesto combines two lectures by British classics scholar Mary Beard. If you want a preview, we covered both of these lectures in our Famous Speech Friday series, with the lecture on women and power here, and the lecture on the public voice of women here. So many women don't realize that today's issues in public speaking for women are not just issues of today, but endless repetitions that stem from ancient times. And since ancient times are Beard's specialty, she takes the time to show us the impact that patriarchy has had on women's voices and power for centuries. I should note that the same historical record has been available to male historians all this time all this time, and yet we rarely read about the systemic ways in which women's voices have been silenced throughout history. For that reason alone, this book is a must-read.

Beard isn't just influenced by history. As a female academic, she sees the gender disparities on conference programs, and is trolled unmercifully online by those who disagree with her feminist views. Her work is well-informed by today's challenges, and her advice is simple: "Find your voice and use it.". I hope you'll take the time to read this important work.
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Get involved with more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, or follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels.

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Eloquent Woman's weekly speaker toolkit

I read a lot about women and public speaking, and post my finds first on The Eloquent Woman on Facebook. But I always collect them here for you on Mondays as well. Here's what I've been reading lately:
  • The gift of your voice: From Donate your voice so Siri doesn't just work for white men: "Through Project Common Voice, which launched last month, Mozilla aims to collect 10,000 hours of spoken English from people with a wide range of accents." Great project for readers of The Eloquent Woman, via my clients at Mozilla!
  • Women talk more? Really? Thanks for the data: "Gong analyzed 519,000 sales calls and discovered that the average monologue of male salespeople to female buyers was significantly longer (108 seconds) than the average monologue to a man (91 seconds). In other words, men talked for longer periods of uninterrupted time when selling to women. All told, when salesmen worked with female buyers, the men did 61% of the talking."
  • Did you miss? This week, the blog looked at 9 ideas to mix up your speaking in 2018, a guest post from Cate Huston, and Famous Speech Friday shared 23 famous speeches by women speaking in parliamentary assemblies.
  • About the quote: Give voice to your words, eloquent women! Wisdom from Maya Angelou.
Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, or follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Famous Speech Friday: Oprah Winfrey at the Golden Globes

Oprah Winfrey--talk show host, skilled interviewer, actress, producer, director, publisher and cultural phenomenon--accepted the Cecile B. DeMille award this week at the Golden Globes award ceremony. And, in a not unexpected move, she stole the show.

The speech was part lesson, part clarion call, and wholly a song--lyrical, gripping, something the crowd could join in on. I'd say kudos to the speechwriter, but suspect it was Winfrey herself, so naturally it flowed.

She started and ended the speech with little girls and the influence that can be had upon them:
In 1964, I was a little girl sitting on the linoleum floor of my mother's house in Milwaukee watching Anne Bancroft present the Oscar for best actor at the 36th Academy Awards. She opened the envelope and said five words that literally made history: "The winner is Sidney Poitier." Up to the stage came the most elegant man I had ever seen. I remember his tie was white, and of course his skin was black, and I had never seen a black man being celebrated like that. I tried many, many times to explain what a moment like that means to a little girl, a kid watching from the cheap seats as my mom came through the door bone tired from cleaning other people's houses....In 1982, Sidney received the Cecil B. DeMille award right here at the Golden Globes and it is not lost on me that at this moment, there are some little girls watching as I become the first black woman to be given this same award.
Don't get the wrong idea: Oprah spent the fewest words in this speech about herself. She talked instead about women's stories:
And I'm especially proud and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories. Each of us in this room are celebrated because of the stories that we tell, and this year we became the story.
But it's not just a story affecting the entertainment industry. It's one that transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics, or workplace. So I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue. They're the women whose names we'll never know. They are domestic workers and farm workers. They are working in factories and they work in restaurants and they're in academia, engineering, medicine, and science. They're part of the world of tech and politics and business. They're our athletes in the Olympics and they're our soldiers in the military.
Even public speaking got its due: "Speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have. For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared speak their truth to the power of those men...but their time is up."

The speech was followed by a flood of tweets calling on Oprah to run for president. Of course, we need more than one great speech to choose a president, in my view, but it says a lot about the leadership the audience heard and felt in this speech. And, as this piece points out, she wrote the speech to be about the unseen people, not about her supposed candidacy. Part celebratory romp, part history lesson, she drew all the threads of the evening's protests about sexual harassment together and made them poetic. What can you learn from this famous speech?
  •  Be ready for your big moment. Do I have to say this? I do. Many the honoree approaches the mic unprepared, which disrespects the award and the audience. Instead, you can do as Oprah did, and use the platform to further a cause and inspire those you hope to enlist in it.
  • Use symmetry: Oprah began with the image of herself as a little girl, watching the ceremony, and ended with a call to action for "all the girls watching here and now." Aside from the satisfaction of hearing a speech come full circle, the tactic drew Oprah closer to her audiences--the one in the room and the one watching at home. It's something at which she is a master.
  • Use slogans deftly and without sounding trite: "Me Too" and "Time's Up" were the slogans of the night, and they are scattered sparely in her speech in ways that make it seem as if they belong right there. The impact was greater as a result.
You can read the speech here and watch it here or below:

(Photo: Hollywood Foreign Press)


Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, or follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

9 ideas to mix up your speaking in 2018

(Editor' s note: Reader and client Cate Huston-- an engineer, frequent speaker, and enthusiastic booster of getting more women in tech to speak-- offered this guest post sharing ways to switch it up when preparing talks as inspiration for you early in the new year. Thanks, Cate!)

Public speaking is scary, so it’s easy to get set in what we know works. This year, challenge yourself to mix it up! Not everything will work, but that’s okay - if we don’t try, we never know.

  1. Slides. Mix up your slide style! Try a totally different format, work with someone else to create them, or go without. 
  2. Format. Is your sweet spot 20 minutes? Challenge yourself to a 40 minute slot. Do you always rely on having a lot of time? See if you can give as good a talk in 20 minutes - or 5. Run a workshop! Co-present!  Or try something like Pecha Kucha or Ignite - the 5 minutes and auto-advance can be really tough!
  3. Role. Always the panelist, never the moderator? This could be the year. If you’ve never done it before, look for the opportunity to host or MC - it’s a very different experience.
  4. Topic. Maybe you’ve been giving “soft” talks - why not get really technical? Maybe technical talks seem safer, but why not challenge yourself to go beyond details - give a high level overview, or talk about a different interest or part of your role.
  5. Audience. Maybe you always talk at mobile, or PHP events - branch out and find a new audience at an event with a different theme! Maybe you present a lot internally - branch out and give a talk outside.
  6. Preparation style. Do you have a series of rituals when it comes to preparing a talk? A process involving sticky notes and weeks of preparation? Challenge yourself with a compressed timeframe or different approach (blog posts?) If finishing slides on the plane is part of your MO, challenge yourself to slide-freeze a week in advance. Things like a practise run at your company or a local meetup can force you out of the last minute preparation trap.
  7. Medium. Be a guest on a podcast (great way to extemporaneous speaking!), or record something straight to video (my video tip is this: practise without recording until you’re comfortable, then record when you’re ready. This has taken me from 20+ takes to 2). Speaking doesn’t just mean from stage.
  8. Constraints. You don’t have to agree to everything - decide what’s important to you and prioritize that - embrace constraints. Or, evaluate your internal constraints, if your gremlin is saying things like “I’m not ready to give an international talk”, you don’t have to listen to it!
  9. Social media. Schedule live tweets during your talk, or tweet teaser snippets of your prep. Turn your talk into a blog post, or use blog posts to build it up. There’s so many ways to blend your IRL talk with your digital presence.

(Creative Commons licensed photo by Patti)

Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, or follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels.

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Eloquent Woman's weekly speaker toolkit

I read a lot about women and public speaking, and post my finds first on The Eloquent Woman on Facebook. But I always collect them h ere for you on Mondays as well. Here's what I've been reading lately:
Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, or follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels.