I don’t do as much public speaking as I used to. Fortunately my colleagues at USV have picked up the slack and we are still out there telling the world what we believe in and why. I think that is critical to building the brand of an investment business.
Because it is Blockchain Week in NYC, I have done a number of public speaking events this week and have two more today. I also did something up at Columbia University last week for a friend and do a fair number of public appearances for the K12 CS Education work I do.
All of that has had me on a stage a lot in the last week and reminded me that there is an art to public speaking. I have also witnessed a lot of people doing it poorly this past week.
I have three main rules that I try to live by:
1/ Be brief. It is possible to make a point in less than a minute. But many take five or ten minutes to do it. In a world where people take their phones out the minute they are bored, you simply can’t take a long time to make a point.
2/ Be bold. Stake out positions that will stimulate debate and get people talking. I am not suggesting that you should take a position you don’t believe in. But I do think it is important to go out on a limb from time to time.
3/ Have fun. Show your personality. Smile. Laugh. Enjoy it. The audience will pick up on that and it will make it more fun for everyone.
I have also taken to doing a lot of interviewing lately. When I get asked to make an appearance, I often ask if I can do the interview instead of being interviewed. I usually turn those into public conversations and that is a lot of fun and, I think, works for the audience too.
I am interviewing Olaf Carlson-Wee, the founder of the Polychain token fund, today at The Token Summit. I plan to have fun and will work to keep it snappy and provocative.