I’m one of the organizers for PyGotham, the yearly Python programming conference in New York City. This year thirteen PyGotham speakers received training from opera singer and speaking coach Melissa Collom, paid for by the conference and free for the speakers. Eight of the speakers were new to the conference scene; Melissa helped them focus on delivering value to their audience, structuring their talks clearly, and speaking with conviction. All the speakers who responded to a survey said they felt more confident and they were more likely to propose conference talks again.
Here’s what some of our speakers said:
“Melissa helped me pick out the areas I needed to improve, that I could work on for maximum impact in the limited time that I had before the conference. More importantly, she told me what she thought were my strengths and it helped me immensely to know what I had working for me.”
“It was fun and Melissa made me feel comfortable to be myself! She brought out the best in me. The positive and constructive feedback was helpful and provided in a supportive way.”
“Her feedback was very insightful—I could definitely tell she knew what to look for and how to offer constructive and pertinent insights.”
The most valuable aspect of Melissa’s coaching, according to one speaker, was “getting me to think about Shakespeare instead of fear.”
I’m grateful to everyone who’s helped PyGotham provide free speaker coaching. In the last couple years we’ve inspired PyOhio and PyTennessee to start similar programs with Melissa. We’re ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to deliver a terrific conference talk. Melissa Collom is available to coach private clients, you can hire her to prepare for an upcoming presentation or general training as a public speaker.