I could have expected many things, but not that… This is the story how I dropped out of the University, launched an app, and how I had my first speech in front of the students at the University in Warsaw.
I published my first article over a year ago: “I’m 19 and I’ve just launched my first iPhone app”. After that I was wondering if there will be any chance to write another article from the series “I’m… and I’ve just”. And… Yes! I did the next extraordinary thing!
I got a proposal to give a speech to the students at the university called the Warsaw School of Economics. It’s not an ordinary university but the one ranked first amongst Polish business schools! I felt strange when I went there… Do you remember that I dropped out of uni (sic!)? I had a feeling that I was almost like Steve Jobs. Ok, but I’m not such genius… yet!
Today I wanted to share with you some tips on how to prepare yourself for a speech. I think it may help you in case you will have to talk about your business idea, startup or your own project. I’m an amateur, it was my first speech ever, BUT “my students” told me that it was so interesting! I will show you exactly what I did step by step so that your speeches will be deep, inspiring and your listeners will undoubtedly crave for more!
First: read a book
Every time I do not understand something I try to find a book that could help me solve my problems. I’m a typical bookworm. ? I contacted a guy I had met a few months earlier at PR Camp. It’s an annual event for young marketers. Andrzej showed me there how public speaking could look like. So, I contacted him and asked for some tips. He gave me his personal book called “Public Speaking for Shy People”. Damn, I wish it was written in English!
Then I decided that I have to see how other people act on stage. I chose the best Polish marketer – Pawel Tkaczyk who’s one of those men I admire a lot. I was watching his lectures on Youtube till 5 am… while eating cookies. ? What! Don’t tell me you don’t do it! I made notes, and I even tried to repeat his presentation just to learn how he expresses and tells the stories. It was a really good exercise before I started to work on my speech.
Ask yourself some questions
- What’s your main goal in the presentation?
- Who is your audience? How old are they?
- How much time do you have?
- Why the audience is involved in the presentation?
- Do they do it for the entertainment, knowledge, others?
- If your listeners walked away with one thing, what should or would it be?
Before I started to work on my presentation I decided to contact one of the organizers; thanks Julia! She created a dedicated group on messenger, so that I had a chance to get to know the students before I was there. I asked if they could send me any questions they may have had about me and marketing in general. With all that making my presentation was so easier!
I divided my speech into 5 parts: introduction, 3 main sections and inspirational ending.
Beginnings are always the toughest. That’s why you need something that you will remember by your heart. Something that you will remember when somebody wakes you up in the middle of the night. Create sentences that briefly describe who you are and what you do.
My name is Angélique Toque and I’m a Marketing Wizard. I teach people how to create magic around products. Mainly I create apps, sometimes I write, sometimes I travel. Currently I live in Valencia where I’m fullfiling my Spanish dream.
After that I told my students my plan for the evening. What will I be talking about, and what can they learn from that.
- How to start working on a product.
- How to find the first 1000 customers.
- How to launch a product.
I got used to really bored lectures at High School, so I promised myself that I have to talk as much specifically as possible. I did not want to lose my audience’s attention during my presentation. If I travelled from Valencia to Warsaw almost 2500 km they simply have to get the most out of it! During the speech I was talking about my own experiences with marketing. I mixed it all with the interesting facts and crazy stories that actually had happened that year.
Inspirational ending — call to action
At the end I wanted to share with them my life philosophy which is: “YOLO”?—?you only live once. I wanted to show, I’m a living proof that you can achieve success without studies. Imagine that I was only 19 when I launched my first product. I believe it’s a matter of mindset and self-motivation. I tried to encourage them to take action and to make mistakes, because if not now, then when?
Based on your notes, insights create a presentation.Do’s:—keep it as simple as possible—choose one font that fits to you (I chose the font from Proud branding)—use high quality photos—come up with short, but creative titles for the slides—remove everything you don’t needDon’t’s:—overload with information: don’t put too much text into slides—use multiple fonts or different font sizes on your slides—create too many slides
Here I share with you how my presentation looked like. It’s my first creation ever, so don’t expect it to be perfect. Click! (it’s in Polish, sorry!)
ToolsI created my presentation in Keynote, but there are so many awesome tools, totally for free. You can read about them here.
Find a mentor
I attract so many valuable people all the time. Recently I’ve met a wonderful man — Dave. We were talking through LinkedIn for several weeks. He teaches business at the University of Texas. He helps startups and entrepreneurs create the big things. Before my speech I had a chance to analyze my whole work with him. He shared his knowledge and expertise with me. To be completely honest with you: it was a really outstanding experience for me! After the conversation I was sure that I will do it, no matter what!
So, if you have a chance to talk to with someone who can give you a fresh point of view, just do it!
A small digression…
When I dropped out of university I told myself that I will surround myself with the people that are bigger and smarter than me. That’s why I’m constantly moving forward.
So you can imagine how I felt after the talk with Dave! It was like magic…
Practice, practice, practice
There’s no strategy for it. Just practise, and you will get better! I also recorded my voice and actually myself (using my Macbook).
Do not try to write down the whole script of the presentation, don’t even try to learn it by heart! Accept that before the lecture you will be stressed. It’s very likely to happen that at the stage you will forget everything after a few seconds. Do not even try to go there with 20 pages of your personal notes…
- Don’t read your presentation slides
- People usually don’t over-analyze the things you say.
- You are the expert there.—take a deep breathe before the lecture.
- If you feel stressed, ask your audience some questions (you will get to know them, it will make you more confident, after that you will feel like you were among your old friends). This step saved my whole presentation when I was in a crisis.
- Keep an eye contact. An hour before my lecture I had met Izabela. She works for one of the most famous startups in Poland called Brand24. I got used to her face, and eyes and at the beginning I was talking only to her. She made me feel comfortable and safe.
- If you feel insecure, lean on chair or touch something.
- Don’t forget about water, for sure you will need it
- If you use Mac, don’t forget about the correct cable. You can also convert your presentation into PDF. I did that, because we had so many technical problems.
- Wear clothes that make you feel most comfortable.
- Don’t be scared to repeat the things you said (ofc, briefly) it helps people preserve knowledge.
- Try not to repeat the same words. During my presentation I used “fantastically” and “generally” all the time, but I haven’t heard it at all! ? I believe it’s just a matter of time and practice to get rid of it.
- After the presentation ask for feedback! Analyze your strengths and weaknesses.
These are the things that helped me create my first lecture. With clear strategy, planning and practice you can create magic at the stage, even if you are an amateur! Hope, it’s just the beginning for me and I will be able to give another speeches in the 2017!
Even if you don’t have any perspectives to give the speech in the short future, it’s ok. Stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself a story about the things you have done yesterday. Try to be as positive, energetic and inspirational as possible! You will never know when this exercise will help you later in your life.
I have a story for you! My dad calls me at least 2 times per month asking “Angie, when are you going to University?”. Every time I’m trying to explain to him my ideas, and plans for the future. I always end the call with “Dad, I know what I’m doing, just trust me”.
After my lecture at the University, he did not ask about uni anymore. Seems like… I won, at least for now.