I’ve got a gig at OSCON 2008 doing a mini-keynote, fifteen minutes entitled Language Inflection Point. This was in my mind when I stumbled across Marca’s Public speaking versus blogging. I think he’s really wrong.
His proposition is that you speak at conferences to get written about by journalists, who will mangle your message, so he’s decided to give up on public speaking. Here’s why that’s wrong:
The purpose of giving a speech at a conference is to provide value to the conference audience; you know, the people who paid money to be in the rooom.
For at least some of us, public speaking is a blast: a monster adrenaline high, and no matter how many times you rehearse, you always think of something new to say once you start talking.
When you give a speech, unless you’re really lame you’ve just had half a conversation with everyone in the room; quite a few of them will want to have the other half, so you get to hear enlightening stories from strangers. And if it’s an UnConference or a small crowd, you can have a whole conversation.
If you agree to speak at a conference that means you’re gonna go to the conference, and there are very few conferences where you’re not going to have a chance to learn something valuable.
If people like what I say, they might start reading the blog.