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Welcome to the voxgig newsletter for tech speakers, 18 May 2018


If you’ve ever done any theater work, you’ll know there’s a thing called “blocking”. Blocking is the arrangement and movement of the actors on the stage. It gets pretty complex. It’s also a big thing in film. (One of this week’s contributors, Olivia Mitchell, mentions blocking in her piece ‘Nine ways to use space during your presentation’ – see below). 

There’s a great video by @TheeNerdwriter that’s a good introduction to the subject: ‘How Alfred Hitchcock Blocks A Scene’.

If you’re a regular reader of this newsletter, you’ll know that I’m not great on the body language skill. I tend to stay behind the podium and stick with unconscious hand gestures. Using body language to communicate is just another facet of the public speaking skill set, and something important to learn. At my most recent speaking gig, I decided to deliberately move around the stage. It was really hard to get right, and I’m pretty sure I distracted the audience with random walks from one side to the other.

I hope you find the material in this week’s newsletter useful when it comes to this skill—I’m only just starting down this road myself!


Gestures and body language
Toastmasters International

Eye contact establishes an immediate bond with an audience, especially when a speaker focuses on individual listeners rather than just gazing over the audience as a whole.

Public speaking mannerisms
Speech Mastery

When you’re on a podium in front of an audience, you can use gestures to make you come alive. The larger the audience, the more alive gestures make you look. They can emphasize what you say. They can also describe what you say.

Nine ways to use space during your presentation
Olivia Mitchell

“There are many benefits to movement in a presentation:
It adds energy and variety to your presentation.
It makes you look more confident – because people who are nervous are generally frozen in one spot.
And as an added bonus, if you move, you may start to feel more confident. That’s partly because movement will help dissipate the extra adrenaline in your system.”

How to become an authentic speaker
Nick Morgan

There are aims to every speech ( to be open, to connect, to be passionate, and to listen).“Rehearse your speech with them in mind. Try practicing it four ways, adopting the mind-set of each aim in turn, feeling it more than thinking about it. Forget about rehearsing specific gestures. If you are able to sincerely realize these feelings, your body language will take care of itself, emerging naturally and at the right moment.”

The power of movement (and when to stand still)
Julia Pardo

“You should stand still onstage when you want to transmit an idea (or emphasize a point). If you are fixed in a spot, the audience’s attention is entirely on you. Ideally, you should have a fixed spot onstage for every message you want to get through.”

Speaker Training

Do you speak at conferences? Want to learn how to give the very best talks? Or are you just starting out and want to overcome the fear of speaking on stage?

We are running speaker training workshops in Dublin and London, in Ireland and the U.K. over the coming months.

There is a 10% OFF early bird discount if you book before May 22nd.

To find out more follow the links below.

Public speaking with Lauren Currie

London, UK – Friday June 22, 2018 | More Details

Giving great talks with Russ Miles

Dublin, Ireland – Tuesday July 17, 2018 | More Details

Public speaking with Debbie Forster

London, UK – Thursday October 18, 2018 | More Details

Giving great talks with Russ Miles

London, UK – Tuesday September 25, 2018 | More Details




Speaker Profile

The importance of being inauthentic
Mark Bowden

“So you’ve already decided whether you like me or not. And you did that within a fraction of a second of seeing me. You made the unconscious choice the moment I walked on. You saw my behavior, my body language, my non-verbal behavior, my tone of voice as well, that you’re hearing now.” Our body language communicates so much to those around us without our ever opening our mouth. Body language expert Mark Bowden shares how body language helps us determine our view of the people we interact with on a daily basis and the four categories we place them into based on how they present themselves.

Learn from the Best

Dananjaya Hettiarachchi profile shot, He's a black man with a mustache and beard, wearing a light brown suit with grey shirt, red tie with stripes and little matching handkerchief in breast pocket. very smart looking and well presented.

‘I see something in you’
Dananjaya Hettiarachchi
Here we see body language in action. World champion Toastmaster in 2014, Dananjaya Hettiarachchi is a professional. He uses body language and facial expressions to perfection; it looks natural, authentic and commands attention to every word.

Tell me…

 What is your biggest challenge as a tech speaker?

This newsletter is for you. I want it to include hints, tips and strategies that resonate with you.

So go ahead, hit reply and tell me what you find challenging as a speaker. 

Email me at richard@voxgig.com. You can tweet too: @voxgig I will address the most pressing issues in each edition.

Book of the Week

Book cover image, simple cover, drawing attention with text

How To Be Brilliant At PUBLIC SPEAKING
Sarah Lloyd-Hughes

Refreshingly, Lloyd Hughes admits that she was not a natural when she first began speaking. This led to formal coaching, learning about correct body language, how to deliver a buzz phrase and how to close. In her case, this training didn’t succeed and made her more nervous.


Blog Post

Body language in public speaking: why and how it’s important
Speak With Persuasion


Actress Mae West once said: “I speak two languages: body and English.” Body language can make or break your presentation. An audience decides within seconds if they trust the speaker on stage. These seconds are used to look at how the speaker presents him- or herself. If the audience doesn’t trust him or her, it won’t matter what the speaker says—they won’t be able to persuade. In a lot of cases, what you say makes less of an impact than how you act. Your movement, gestures, and voice send out an important message.




Three Conferences




This is the 13th annual conference for PHP[TEK], taking place in Atlanta, Georgia. What’s more, if you attend this event, you will receive 25% off coupon to attend PHP[WORLD] in Washington D.C. later this year. The venue is also conveniently located just outside the tourist area, but close enough to walk to everything.


PyCon APAC 2018

PyCon APAC 2018

The Python User Group Singapore invites you to join them for three days of focused Python content, with one day fully dedicated to workshops. On the last day, the Young Coders Workshop takes place, targeted at coders under 18 years of age, for hands-on learning through Python coding.


Web Rebels

Web Rebels

Ready to join the JavaScript community in Oslo, Norway for a volunteer run conference? A proud member of the JSConf family of events, Web Rebels is inviting 16 speakers from around the world and the JS community for two days of JavaScript topics. The program is designed for developers who love building application and services using web technology.





CFP Calendar

These are the CFP deadline dates and submission pages.




A favour…

Can I ask you for a favour? If you enjoy this newsletter, and if you find it useful, please consider recommending it to a friend who is learning to give technical talks, or who aspires to do so. I meet so many cool programmers who have brilliant things to share with the world—that’s you!

Please help me to improve this newsletter – I’d love to hear your suggestions! You can email me directly at richard@voxgig.com. You can tweet too: @voxgig. Thank you so much for reading!

A special thanks and shout out to TammyCora, and David for helping to make this newsletter even better!