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Jumping into Women Who Code DFW and facilitating meetups this past year, one of the things I have been thinking about is encouraging our membership to share their interests and experiences with our group. A few of the benefits I can think of, besides strength in our network that comes from participation, are:

  • Gaining speaking experience in a safe space (see the WWCode code of conduct)
  • Growing your resume
  • Raising your professional profile
  • And, maybe you’re already working on something – we’d love for you to workshop it with our group

Also, I frequently disqualify myself from doing new things that are good for me professionally and I’m trying to 1) get out of that mindset and 2) help others break similar thinking. WE KNOW STUFF!!!! Sometimes I find it hard to figure out what that “stuff” is thanks to “comfort zones” and “tunnel vision” and “time to think about stuff” (just to name a few).

However, in the past few years I have had to do more public speaking for work. Recently, I’ve been thinking about talks related to other interests and projects to grow my speaking experience. As I want to develop as a speaker I’ve still been wondering, How do I figure out what I should share? I didn’t know I’d enjoy hosting workshops and talking about my projects, but it turns out I do. That’s led me to wanting to improve at crafting ideas, pitching talks, and giving talks.

All that thinking let me to wanting to share my latest listen on the [CodeNewbie](http://www.codenewbie.org/) podcast. The semester has started back up I’ve had lots of commuting time to catch up on episodes from this summer. This morning I just finished a great one, an interview with Nickolas Means on [“Developing your Tech Talk Idea”](http://www.codenewbie.org/podcast/developing-your-tech-talk-idea).

During the interview, Means gave some tips for structuring a 5 minute talk that were simple and doable. I want to share this talk with our WWCodeDFW network because I want more of our membership to share what they are good at, learning about, or interested in at our meetups.

It’s that simple. You may not be an expert in an area, but if you’ve jumped into learning something you can share that you are a learner in this area. The struggles of learning a new thing can make a great 5 minute talk. The last project you worked on for yourself can make a 5 minute talk. If you can make a simple outline, on a topic you can start to fill in the rest.

I mean to listen to the podcast again, but the gist of the outline went as such:

For a 5 minute talk, pick your topic (hone in on some aspect that’s interesting) and work on an:

  1. Opening
  2. 2-3 points
  3. Closing

And, through it all, include story. Skillful narrative is a whole post in itself. It’s an important point – weaving in story may not be the starting point, but eventually it will bring it all together. Throughout the interview Neal talked about narrative in great talks he’s heard and in his own talks. Personally, I know I need to work on this. Our stories make our talks different, we can share on similar topics but it’s sharing our idiosyncratic experiences or takes on things that make any talk more relatable and memorable.

I hope you’ll listen to the podcast, and check out other CodeNewbie episodes. And, if you’re in the DFW area, I hope you’ll join WWCodeDFW and share something with us soon.