Zendesk public speaking workshop
Global Diversity CFP Day at Zendesk. Image: Luke Maxwell

Zendesk and the art of public speaking

15 Feb 2018

On 3 February, Zendesk hosted the Dublin Global Diversity CFP Day for those who want to be a tech conference speaker.

We’re constantly hearing about the importance of soft skills. They can even be more important when it comes to a job in tech, because they can often be overlooked.

When looking for a tech job, you might focus on your technical capabilities, but it’s the soft skills that will help you stand out from the crowd.

One such skill that tech workers might not think about is public speaking. When you plan to spend your career developing software, analysing data or solving technical problems, you might not think public speaking is a skill you will need.

However, with so many tech conferences, meet-ups and events, ranging from intimate, local groups to massive global stages, your knowledge could easily be called upon.

Having skills in public speaking will increase your chances of being consulted on with regard to your area of expertise. This will enhance your career development, add another string to your bow and make you more known in the tech world.

There’s another side to tech conferences that needs to be addressed. With so much talk around diversity and inclusion, the tech community is demanding much more visibility for those from diverse backgrounds.

Bringing these two sides together is the Global Diversity Call for Proposals (CFP) Day, a community event based on successful workshops held in advance of ScotlandCSS and ScotlandJS 2016.

Since then, it has expanded to multiple workshops around the world happening on the same day. In 2018, there were more than 50 workshops spread out across the globe.

In Dublin, Zendesk hosted a workshop on Saturday 3 February. Its organiser, software engineer Sheeka Patak, said that 19 people signed up compared to 15 last year. “Hopefully all of them show up early on a Saturday morning,” she said. “It’s a very niche area – not everybody likes to do public speaking.”

The event involved a number of mentors helping the attendees with their talk proposals and sharing advice on public speaking. The attendees were then invited to get up and practise public speaking by sharing their own perspective on a subject of their choosing.

Zendesk people development manager Jen Cronin was a mentor at the workshop. “The reason I wanted to get involved is because I think it’s a great opportunity to help people as they try something new,” she said. “Especially around the art of public speaking, I think it can be daunting for a lot of people as they try to publicly speak for the first time.”

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the deputy editor of Silicon Republic in 2020, having worked as the careers editor until June 2019. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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