Engineers week takes place this year between the 14th and 20th of February . There are a host of events around the country for all age groups. Last year I ran a number of events for engineers week. I found it very worth while and enjoyable. This year I am giving a soldering workshop and an Arduino programming tutorial.
In the Soldering Workshop I will be showing people how to solder through-hole components and finishing off the class with the students building an astable multivibrator aka flashing lights.
For the Arduino 101 – Learn to Blink night, I will be showing people how to get started writing arduino programmes. All the basics will be covered.
For more information on these events check out www.tog.ie or for a full listing of the Engineers Week events check out www.engineersweek.ie .
This week saw the last meeting of my public speaking course. In some ways I am glad it was coming to an end and other ways I will miss it. I think over the three weeks you build up a bond with the other people in the course. As they have gone though the hardship of public speaking with you.
Show What You Mean
The task this week was to use body movements in your speech. The idea is to add another dimension to your speech and showing the audience what you mean.
- To learn the value of gestures and body movements as part of a speech.
- To explore the different ways of using body language.
- To develop a sense of timing and natural, smooth body moment.
- Time: Three to five minutes.
Taking on board the feedback from last week, I set out to have a very well structured talk and having a good opening and closing line. I started out thinking of some thing I know very well hackerspaces. I took out a bank piece of paper and brain stormed for a few minutes. I just wrote down bullet points. I then left it for a few days. Over the weekend we had the hackathon in TOG. I knew there would be other people in the space, so I wrote all my points up on the black board in the common room for everyone to see. Other people then started to shout out great ideas. My opening line came from their suggestions “Hello my name is … and I’m a hacker” . Taking in all the points I went off to write the speech and put all these ideas into some sort of order.
After writing out the speech I posted it to the TOG irc channel, I went though a number of revisions getting feedback each time from the hackerspace members. Here is a copy of the speech I transfraed to flash cards.
- Mass media definition of a hacker.
- Don’t believe the hype.
- Home Brew Computer Club.
- My definition of a hacker.
- What is a Hackerspace.
- Hackerspaces in Ireland.
- Why I like the term.
Over all I think the speech was very good. I think I did well specking. I did not hit all the objectives in this task, as was clearly shown in the feedback I received. I started out well using my hands and moving around. But from the middle to end I did not to many hand moments. As always with toastmaster you are given feedback on how your performed.
- Speaker very much at home with topic
- Excellent preparation.
- Confident Manner
- Animated, friendly friendly expressions.
- Great opening.
Areas of improvement
- Body movements some what awkward at the end.
- Posture at the lectern.
- Use bigger flash cards and less of them.
I will take the feedback on board for the next talk I do. After the tea breck we had another table topices sessions which I found great fun.
Overall I enjoyed the course very much. In the beginning I was second guessing myself for signing up for the course. I did not want to do any public speaking. But being forced to get up there every week and speak in front of people was well worth it. I would like to thank Engineers Ireland for providing this free course and the Engineers Toastmasters for teaching it. I would recommend it to anyone. I also think public speaking is some thing you get better with practice. That is where toastmasters clubs come in. After looking it up , I was amazed with the number of clubs in Dublin. As my college work is taking up a lot of my time, I wont commit myself to going to their meetings but after college I will try and go.
Yesterday saw my second night at my public speaking course held in Engineers Ireland . This week’s task was to prepare a speech on a subject you are in Earnest about.
Be In Earnest.
The objectives of this task are:
- To convince the audience of your earnestness, sincerity and conviction on a subject you thoroughly understand.
- To confront and control any nervousness you may have.
- Time : Three to five minutes.
As I mention last week I decided to pick the topic of Open Source Software and Open Source Hardware .I found this a very easy topic for me to write about and prepare a speech. I am a keen user of open source software , with Ubuntu being my operating system of choice. When it comes to hardware I love the exploding world of open source hardware. There are so many great projects, Arduino, Makerbot, OpenMoko to name just a few.
I started out by writing the whole speech , and then transferred the key points to flash cards.
- Examples of Open Source Software we use every day.
- No need to reinvent the wheel.
- Who makes Open Source Software. Hobbyists , Company’s.
- Is there any money in Open Source Software.
- Open Source Hardware - definition.
- Examples of Open Source Hardware.
- Still in its infancy – who makes it.
- Hope you all think about releasing any thing you make under a open licence.
As I was giving the talk it was clear that some of the people did not know anything about open source. I feel happy about the talk I gave. People seemed to like it. As always your speech is reviewed. Feedback is below.
- Good Content, interesting topic.
- Could clearly talk for an hour on the topic.
- Earnestness and conviction in voice.
Areas for Improvement
- Need a better opening to arouse audience interest.
- Repetition in the middle.
- Need to end on a stronger note of appeal.
- Eye contact
It is clear from the feedback from the last two weeks I need to add more structure to my talks. I need better opening and closing lines. At the tea break after the talk there were lots of great questions about my talk. I was surprised at the interest.
After the tea break we had a table topics session. The topic I was given “Is your bedroom tidy or complete bedlam”. I made a point that to some my bedroom may look like bedlam but it actually divided up into sections. One area for clean clothes one for dirty clothes and the rest of the room for everything else.
I have my last night of the course next week. Nest week task is “Show What you Mean”. I have to use gestures and body movements are part of a speech. I am going to take some time to think of a good opening line. As it was clear from the feed back I need to work on it.
Last night was my first night of a public speaking course I am attending in Engineers Ireland. In preparation for the first night, I had write an Ice breaker speech.
The objects of this speech are :
- To begin speckling before an audience.
- To help you understand what areas require particular emphasis in your speaking development.
- To introduce yourself to fellow Speechcrafters.
I spent a few days over the last week thinking about what I would say. I decided to talk about something I know very well me .
I turned up to the course to find 15 other people just as nervous about giving their speech as I was. The toastmasters(teachers) did a great job of making us all feel welcome and at ease. We were given a great demonstration of an Ice breaker speech. Now it was our turn, we broke up into two groups of eight, a group to a room. We started one by one to give our ice breaker speech, luckily I was number six. After each speech, the toastmaster gave feedback to the speaker on ways they could improve. It soon came to my turn. I was nervous just before I started talking but as soon became settled when I started talking.
Ice breaker speech
I prepared flash cards with the following points.
- Why I wanted to become an engineer- Always taking things apart.
- Went to DCU – Digital Media Engineering .
- Worked For School of Computing, DCU.
- Ahvited Project.
- The work I did in the project.
- Now in Final year.
I think my speech went well. I ran over the time limit a bit. I hoped to talk about my FYP(Final year project) at the end but I just did not have time.
I got some great feedback from the toastmaster on how to improve.
Strong Points: Good Stance, Strong voice , Relaxed Style, Open face to Audience.
Suggestions for improvement: Slower delivery.,Use of a pause.,Better opening, body and conclusion, Don’t say thank you to the audience.
After our ice breaker speeches we had a much needed break for tea. Afterwards all sixteen students were once again in the same room for the table topics session. Table topics sessions work like so, a topicmaster calls out the name of one of the students. Then he/she stands up. The topicmaster then gives the person a topic to start talking about immediately. The idea is to think of what to say as your talking. One by one all sixteen of us stood up and talked on a topic that we were just given. The topic I was given “what makes Ireland produce literary greats” I made a point that we produced these greats in the past but not any more. It turns out that this task is great fun. It is great to hear what people come up with off the top of their head. After we had all finished, we were given another example of a speech given by a toastmaster. I was amazed at how good the speech was. Titled “Hooray for the internet”. It was a very humorous speech about political correctness in every day society and the total lack of it on the internet.
The main task is to write a speech to convince an audience of my earnestness on a subject. I am thinking of doing the talk on open source hardware. There will also be a table topic session too.
In my previous employment I attend a lot of meetings. Some of them were great and useful others were total wastes of time. It turns out it is very easy to run a bad meeting. Things like poor preparation by the people at the meeting, starting late, running over time and so on. It was getting to the point where I wasn’t looking forward to meetings., I was seeing them as just a waste of time.
In early September, I noticed another email from Engineers Ireland about courses they were running for this month. Most of the time I don’t read them any more as a lot of there course are over priced and noting that I would be interested in. At the end of the email two courses caught my eye managing meetings and public speaking. I saw that these two were be organised by YES(Young Engineer Society). I started thinking to myself that these courses would be more suited to myself as a young engineer. Also the fact that they were free also helped. I signed up for both courses.
Managing Meeting Course.
I attend this course last Tuesday the 28th of September at the offices of Engineers Ireland. The course ran from 18:30 until just after 20.00. The main part of the course was a video show casing all the wrong things to do at a meeting. Then it went on to outline how to pre pair and run a good meeting. According to course there are five main principles to a good meeting. I found the speaker did a very good job explaining each one of them in detail. Overall I found the course well worth while doing and a nice way to spend an evening.
The 5 Principles
4. Structure and Control
5. Summarise and Record
Public Speaking Made Easy Course
I have also signed up for this course. It starts next Thursday. I received a ToastMasters Speechcrafter’s Handbook in the post today for the course. Wow, when I signed up I did not think I would have to do any speaking. After reading over the stuff they send me it looks to be a very practical course. For the first class, I have to write a 50 word introduction about myself and give a five minute “Ice-breaker” speech. I am looking forward to this course and will keep you all updated.