Preparing For Your First Presentation: The Art of Public Speaking

Weiyuan Liu

Engineering Manager at Grab


Becoming a Public Speaker

Public speaking is important for many reasons. Three key points stand out to me, however, the first being knowledge sharing. At many events where public speaking is present, attendees can learn and share their own insights on specific topics. Those who speak on the topics can dive deep into the subject and ultimately learn more as well. 

The second and third points are networking and broadening your reputation. Many public speaking events are known for both their networking as well as teaching moments. Attendees are able to connect with domain experts as well as other individuals that are attending as well.  

Preparing for Your First Sharing 

Preparing for your first time public speaking can be an overwhelming experience. I recommend focusing on the following steps. 

  1. Choose a topic. Pick a topic you’re knowledgeable and passionate about, and preparing your talk and sharing materials will feel less daunting. 
  2. Pick the appropriate community event and level: Choosing where you’re going to present your speech is essential. Understanding the type of audience (beginners vs experts) attending that event will allow you to cater to and satisfy that specific group. Then, submit your CFPs!
  3. Prepare and rehearse: Once you’re officially chosen to speak for your event, always remember to practice your talk! Different people work differently in their preparation and execution. But it's important to be sure that you have the confidence to execute your sharing at least once before your sharing starts.

Understand Your Presentation Style

It’s essential to understand the way that you present best. The main differences here are between the memorization of material or a “freestyle” approach. I recommend presenting for a friend or colleague, as it can be tricky to determine what method is best for you when on stage. 

Ensure that you ask this colleague for specific feedback about your presentation: did you speak too fast… too slow? Continue to implement input just like you would relevant to your job performance. After a few feedback loops, your presentation and public speaking skills will be better than prior. 

Participate in Community and International Events

Public speaking can open you up to a range of opportunities. At first, you’ll be limited to the number of events you can participate in until you gain more experience.

For example, I have become a Google Developer Expert, meaning I can represent Google in different spaces: such as conferences and meetups. As I continue to grow as a speaker, I’m able to travel to other places outside of my local region to talk at international and larger conferences.

"Public speaking is important for many reasons."

"Preparing for your first time public speaking can be an overwhelming experience."

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Weiyuan Liu

Engineering Manager at Grab

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