Women Talk Design’s CEO Danielle Barnes wants you to present yourself

Episode 109:
Women Talk Design’s CEO Danielle Barnes wants you to present yourself


This is an episode for: entrepreneurs, aspiring speakers and presenters from any walk of life!

Molly Geoghegan, Narrative Strategist

Molly Geoghegan

Feb 22, 2024

If you’re a presenter, you might have noticed that the conference speaker circuit is a male-dominated space. 

With Women Talk Design, founders Danielle Barnes and Christina Wodtke set about to change that. Originally starting as a directory for women and non-binary presenters to find and learn from one another, Women Talk Design now offers a wide range of resources, workshops and most recently—a book!

(You can pre-order Present Yourself: Proven strategies for authentic and impactful public speaking here! Out March 11th.)

CEO and co-author Danielle Barnes joins the pod to discuss their journey in starting this organization, writing the book, and experience as a speaker. 

After fan-girling over Women Talk Design’s work for months now, this was such a special episode to finally have a conversation and connect over the impact of creating a presentation community.

What's in the Spice Cabinet??


Click here to see the podcast transcript

Michael Mioduski  00:21

Welcome back to presentation thinking aka the storyteller Study Club. We've got a very exciting episode today. My name is Michael Mioduski. I'm the founder and CEO of a presentation agency called Ghost ranch communications and we are joined by our co host Molly Gagan. Narrative Strategist marketing all star. Molly, tell us what we're doing today.


Molly Geoghegan  00:42

Whoa, thanks Mikey. Yeah, I'm super excited to be here today because we I'm always excited to hear Mikey but today, my fan girl dreams my social media fan girling is coming to life here. We have none other than Daniel Barnes, the CEO of women talk design and co author of upcoming book present yourself. Danielle, welcome to the podcast.


Danielle Barnes  01:04

Thank you. I'm very excited to be here. So thank you so much, Mikey and Molly.


Molly Geoghegan  01:09

Yeah, I have followed Mike. He asked me actually this morning, he's like, how did you learn about women talk design, your organization. And I was like, I don't know, I think it's just been on my social media sphere, within presentations and storytelling for maybe about a year, I want to say awesome. And I just love everything you guys have put out. And I you know, I think I LinkedIn message, one of your, you know, colleagues maybe months ago, and I'm just so happy that finally this came to fruition that we get to actually meet you. And I feel very honored to get an hour of your time. So


Danielle Barnes  01:41

excited. Yeah, I'm really glad to be here. And I'm excited to dive in there. I think we're gonna talk about today.


Molly Geoghegan  01:47

Okay, so we know there's an upcoming book coming out. But first of all, like, let's back up a few steps. How did women talk design come about? What is it


Danielle Barnes  01:56

as a woman talk design is a social enterprise. And our mission is to amplify the voices of women and non binary folks, we do that through visibility, through training and through community. The mission has evolved a bit over the past couple of years. Christina wood key, who's actually my co author for the present yourself book, founded the organization back in 2013. As a secret directory, she was speaking at a lot of conferences, and often found that she was the only woman on stage, which is pretty pissed off that she knew a lot of incredible women in the design industry and thought, where are they? Why are they on these stages. And so she started just a little blog where she would feature people that she knew in the industry so that event organizers could find them and that there would be no more excuses of why they weren't on stage. Turns out there were more reasons than just organizers weren't asking women to speak. There's a whole story there. But over the years, we've really evolved our mission, and are now much broader into trying to encourage more women and non binary folks and anyone from a historically minoritized group test, speak up and share their voice.


Molly Geoghegan  03:04

Whoo, oh, my guess, noble mission. Certainly, this is just like unnecessary. Any woman presenter we've talked to has always been amazing. But I think we've never really named that overcoming some of these barriers to presentations, and certainly 10 years ago would have been even harder place to tap into it definitely still has a lot of barriers. So what are some of those big barriers that women and non binary folks face in getting into the prison headspace?


Danielle Barnes  03:29

Yeah, you know, one other thing that I realized I came on board for women talk design in 2017. And that's where we incorporated into a social enterprise and started to expand the mission. And, you know, one of the things that I realized is that the conference stages were kind of like a microcosm to the workplace. And so a lot of the issues that we see that women face in the workplace with pay inequity, with microaggressions and harassment with having been talked over having their ideas question like those things also showed up in presentations and in the conference stage. And so when it comes to I think, why there weren't more women on stage speaking part of it was that they weren't being asked, but part of it was the self doubt that came from the systemic biases that were happening of being told that like their ideas aren't valid or being paid less for a speaking engagement than one of their male counterparts. And so this is actually one of the things that we have started to talk about, and women talk design and ultimately, what we've incorporated into the bulk is that, you know, we want to really recognize that public speaking isn't a level playing field. I think it's gotten better over the years as people become more aware of some of the inequities, but they're still biases, and they're still these barriers that women and non binary folks and again, anyone who is historically minoritized will come up against when it comes to speaking and we don't want that to stop and re speaking but I also don't want to pretend it doesn't Exactly because it does. And


Michael Mioduski  05:01

I love in your manuscript, you say, and Christina, you say, right out of the open, here's what we believe new voices need to be heard. And what is it about conference stages in general? You know, like, why do you see this as an important area to capture?


Danielle Barnes  05:16

I think the people that we see on stage are the people that we view as leaders. And there are the ideas that get disseminated, right? Someone will be on a seed, they'll be sharing their idea people are tweeting about it or axing about I don't know what you call it now. There's written up blog posts, these are the ideas that get passed on. And, you know, I think that it's really important that the people we're hearing from aren't just the traditional white, straight male, that we've heard from so often, they have great ideas, too. But it's just so important for businesses for our world that we're hearing from folks of all different backgrounds and identities. And no, I think the conference stage is part of that. That's actually how limited talk design started is that we were really focused on trying to diversify conference stages. But over time actually realized this work also applies to any type of preventing, and since we've evolved our curriculum, and the work that we do to help folks present no matter where they are, be it in public or at work, because we all in different capacities need to present at work. And it's really important to are having your voice and your ideas heard.


Molly Geoghegan  06:24

Yeah, I love that people we see on stage are the people we see as leaders. So yeah, women top design starting as like a resource and a hub and kind of like a directory also for people to register themselves as speakers and diversify those stages is now like such a cool resource, and amazing social media follow. As I've said, I prefer for people to learn and learn from each other and set up like groups and webinars and workshops, I've seen so much of so much good content come out from you guys. So really cool that the book is slated. Next, give us a little how did this come about? And did you ever see yourself writing a book?


Danielle Barnes  07:02

Good question. So first, I hear so actually, the started as a workshop, it's the very first program we ran, I mentioned, women talk design went through this evolution from directory to this greater mission. And the workshop was a key part of that transition point. It came out of actually, in 2017, Christina ran a GoFundMe campaign to hire two female design students that she was teaching to go through the design process and look at the women who talk design directory and actually do research interviewing event organizers and speakers and see, you know, if what the website was doing was achieving the goal that Christina set out for, and you know, in all these learning that they had, they learned about the biases that women face, but they also learned that, you know, a lot of women didn't feel like they were prepared to share their ideas and our voice. And so we created the very first present yourself workshop as a weekend workshop in San Francisco, going from how do you take idea, build it into a presentation and deliver it and do it all on a weekend, which we were told was a very ambitious goal. And it was, but it was also really powerful. And seeing the five minute talks that came out of that weekend workshop and hearing from the participants the impact it had on that made us realize we need to keep doing this. And so we offered the workshop and more cities throughout the US in 2020, everything went online. And in 2020 Lyon, we decided to redesign the program as this eight week hybrid program that we're still running today, how it turned into a boat. The Christina actually always talked about it from the beginning, she's written several books and was like, this should be a book, let's make this about. And I was like, I'm not a writer, I'm not writing. Thank you, that sounds really hard. And, you know, we got some feedback over the years from people who took the program that they would love an accompanying book. And it was really when we moved the program online and started to create a synchronous modules and started to write out some of the material that I realized, oh, this could be a book and started the process. I guess, really, last year, two years ago, I don't know I'm so confused about like actually pursuing 30 Chapter publishers and figuring out how we're going to turn this into that book. And that's the long and the short answer is ultimately I wanted these skills, these lessons to reach more people that we've had hundreds of people take the present yourself program over the years, and we've heard the impact that it's had on them, and we wanted to make it accessible to more people.


Molly Geoghegan  09:37

Oh, yeah, definitely. It's the book is another entry point. You know, if someone isn't familiar with you, for them to get familiar with the content and those ideas and overcome maybe that impostor syndrome and it sounds like from the feedback in your workshops, it warranted. This needs to be in writing in a bite into binded way. That's really cool. And who would be you know, if someone's listening, you know, if they like, should I go up? by this book, Who is the intended kind of audience that the book is geared for? Yeah,


Danielle Barnes  10:04

so you know, so my personal mission is that a woman or a non binary person, or someone who is from that, historically, minority group will read this and think, you know, okay, I need to share my voice, I need to speak up, I have tools so that I can do this. But honestly, anyone who needs to present can benefit from this book, there's a ton of practical tools and tactics, and there's I have brain work that's really useful. And so I think anyone needs to present can get a lot of benefit from it. I also hope that, you know, folks who are not from a minoritized group will also read it and learn some about some of the barriers and biases that those who are faced. But so much of the book is actually really focused on tools and tactics for public speaking in a way that feels right to you. And


Michael Mioduski  10:51

Molly and I got a, we got a glimpse at like the introduction in the first five chapters, which now we're like, we want more. We can't wait to finish this. And I can, I can say, Absolutely, not only did I learn already, about some of the difficulties that so many people have to get on stage, and then a lot of the self doubt, and things that I've considered like Jesus's topic, you know, everyone's talked about this before, or am I really an expert, and I think you address a lot of these doubts that people might have that are very common, and present ways to get around it, or actually like ways to make sure that you are coming at it in the right direction. So first of all, like I want, I can't wait to read the rest of it. And I love to like dig into the book a little bit, as far as like some of the highlights that you know, Molly and I have at least begun. And then maybe you can tell us, you know, what else might be in store a little bit. But for sure, I know, first of all, like, we already kind of talked about is like, why should someone consider public speaking. And I think your first chapter is about figuring out why someone should in the first place, and it sounds like, there's a lot of different ways out there, you know, because it's not always the same for everybody. There


Danielle Barnes  12:01

are so many different reasons to speak, there are so many benefits from speaking, I mean, sometimes you have to do it for work. There's also a lot of personal benefits you might have, if you speak publicly, it can be a great way to connect with other people who are interested in the same ideas as you, it's a great way to give back, you've learned a lot of lessons over your career that you might want to share with others. I have some speakers who approach crafting presentation was a way to sit down with their ideas and really start to solidify them and reflect back on what they've learned and be able to continue learning for themselves to lots of different reasons to speak. And you know, one of the themes in this book is that there's no one write anything, there's no one right way to present. But there's also no one bright reason of why you should speak. So that's one of the things we really wanted to do in this chapter is to allow people to explore yeah, there's lots of different reasons. But what is your reason right now, because ultimately, that's going to help guide you through any public speaking journey that you're on.


Molly Geoghegan  13:02

And I love that you you lay that out right away, where you're asking a lot of questions to kind of tease it out of what someone, maybe they don't even realize, like why am I kind of interested this? Or is this like, touching a nerve with me, but there really is so many ways and entry points that people can get into public speaking, get into presenting and wanting to share a topic would be research, a new and original idea challenge, a current idea? Yeah, there's a million reasons why. And so I think it's a, it's really inviting, I found it really accessible. And I also want to call out like with that guide, kind of set up that you have for the book. At the end of each chapter. There's a now try section right where you're like, Okay, let's get pen to paper or like open up a Google doc here and kind of write down a few thoughts. And I've really, as a writer, at my core, I always liked those kind of journaling, prompt things. So that really fit that really stuck with me to


Danielle Barnes  13:51

that I'm glad to hear that that part was so important to us. Because this was something we share an introduction, it's like you can't really get better at public speaking unless you actually do it. And so that was also one of the barriers to like, I mean, obviously, there's a lot of books on public speaking. So public speaking Academy and ABA. But one of the reasons we love the course so much is it allows you to put into practice what you learned. And so we wanted to add in little bits of that to the book so that, you know, folks who are reading it could actually start to do what we're talking about.


Molly Geoghegan  14:19

Yeah, definitely. So yeah, if you're sitting there listening, and you're like, I'm in the midst of making a new presentation and kind of struggling, this chapter alone, like the five why's method I loved. And then I did write down this quote that, I think was from you guys. Or maybe it was one of your examples. But it says sometimes when you struggle to design a new presentation, it's because you have no idea why you're making it. So yeah, I just feel validated in some of the previous frameworks making I have looked at why is so often that first step and I just think it's the most powerful place to start. So you can it'll inform the rest. You


Michael Mioduski  14:49

know, Danielle, you have a couple. Throughout the book, it seems you'll have a lot of real world examples from speakers that have either worked with you in your course or that you've just, you know, helped the country Due to the book, one of the examples in the Y Chapter is the importance of visibility and representation and sort of this, the signs of like this virtuous cycle that can actually help. Like when someone sees someone like them up on the stage, it makes them actually feel like maybe I can do this too. Yeah,


Danielle Barnes  15:15

that is my guiding why for women talk to buy in, there's actually a story in the book that talks about the fictional story about someone seeing themselves on stage and entering to think, Okay, I belong here. And I can do this too. And I don't think that has to be everyone's reason, especially for someone you know who it is for my minoritized identity. Like, I don't want them to feel like they have to put themselves out there if they don't want to just for the sake of, you know, other people in their community. But it is such a powerful thing for those who that why resonates with them? Oh, yes, I want to be able to inspire other people who look like me who have a similar background to me and maybe aren't heard and who, what maybe was someone I didn't see and wish I did. And that's my reason for wanting to speak. Yeah.


Molly Geoghegan  16:03

Mikey, it reminded me we talked about we broke down Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, his TED talk the power of a single story, or the danger of single story, right? Okay. And that's all about that representation, where she, a woman from Africa, a black woman from Africa, doesn't see brown children represented in the children's books that she read, and was, you know, so that was she didn't think characters and stories could be like her, right? So representation does matter. And that way, and I think that's just a super powerful place to start. Once we get past the why, and you guys start getting into the process, one of your main points in chapter two is bringing other people in to that process, like peeling back the curtain can be a scary, vulnerable thing. But, you know, like, you know, we've talked about this a lot to where there's this opportunity, you have to get other people's minds, when you're actually building the blocks together, instead of just coming to them with a finished product and hoping you know, crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. But why was that chapter so important to put as Chapter Two, you know, showing the work in progress? Ah,


Danielle Barnes  17:05

my community has always been the heart of women talk to buy in. And I think this was something that was so invaluable from that first proofing yourself workshop was seeing how people within the program were supporting one another and giving each other feedback or listening to one another, or, you know, helping being a sounding board. And so when we were thinking about how we were going to create a book on this, that was one of the key pieces that was missing? Well, the cohort was so powerful. This is the community that's there. And so how do we create that in the book. And so we did it through chapter one we wanted to do through chapter early on. And I think oftentimes, when people think about preparing for public speaking, it is a very selectivity, it's I'm going to get all of my ducks in a row, I'm going to make sure everything is perfect before I share this with anyone else, because it's vulnerable to share work in progress. You don't want to share your ideas that you haven't thought all the way through and then have someone say, Wait, that's a dumb idea, or that doesn't make sense. Like, it's hard to put yourself out there in that way. But it's also so important because other people make us more effective. So yeah, that I mean, it. I think it's such a key message of the book is to not go at public speaking alone to bring other people into your process early and often. And there's going to be different people you might need for different parts of the process, kind of a test. Iteration. Yeah,


Molly Geoghegan  18:29

super scary. Like, you know, we've all had that experience where you press like screenshare. And you just know you're showing a bunch of placeholders or language or copy that I'm not even happy with yet. And maybe it doodles or something like Oh, it's just can be really intimidating. But it's a testing opportunity. Right Mikey, like in referrals speaker, they talked about iteration iteration, getting other people's brains in, because if you can't test it with other people and see how the land and different perspectives, then it'll be hard to gauge when you actually take that the stage


Michael Mioduski  18:59

definitely stumbled when I've lived too long in my head. And then when I think it's, oh, this is gonna be great. And then I mean, I'm trying to actually say it out loud. It's a mess, you know, and like, I should have probably tried to speak this out loud, instead of just live in a Word doc, the whole time or PowerPoint, a


Danielle Barnes  19:16

different experience does extending out loud bursts that say in your head, and also even earlier in the process, when you're trying to figure out what you're going to speak about. So you know, for someone who maybe wants to speak publicly, but they're not sure what they're going to say, I know, Mike, you'd mentioned like some of the concerns that come up around topics of life, because other people talked about that. Does anyone care about this? I think that is such a valuable place to bring other people in as well, because I've had this experience with participants of our program inside. You know, I like have these experiences, but like, they're not unique, or who cares about this? And that's where someone else can come in and say, Oh, wait, that thing you said right there. I'm experiencing that too. How did you solve it? Or oh, that part of your story. I want to hear more about that. And so there's so many different roles that someone can play at different parts of the process. And that's one of the things we outlined in that chapter. Yeah.


Molly Geoghegan  20:06

Building a community. Don't skip the step. Yeah.


Michael Mioduski  20:10

I love it. I wrote some of that down to that you. You both said, I think it's the word expert, or expertise is something that you you're not in love with. Can you talk about that a little bit? Yes,


Danielle Barnes  20:20

I think one of the I mean, we've heard that is one of the things that have held people back for wanting to share their ideas is that they don't feel like an expert and something. So how can I speak on this topic, if I'm not an expert on it? And I think that expert has often been a very gatekeeping term, I would point to some research that shows that when someone is being cited as an expert in newspaper articles, like oftentimes, it's men and not women, even when they have the same level of expertise, the same level of qualifications, sorry, using the term expertise. And so I think expert feels like she has like a fraught term, because who decides what is the expert like different fields that you're in have different types of qualifications, and even though those have had historically a lot of barriers of who gets to be in that position because of some biases and systemic issues. And so I think that expert is one of those terms that tends to hold people back, but is also when you really dive into it, it's like, okay, well, then who can be an expert and who is actually qualified to share their ideas. And so one of the things that we try to share is that, you know, everyone has something that they can share. And so even if you don't feel like an expert on a topic, it doesn't mean that you can't talk about it, you still have an interest in the topic, you still might have some experience on the topic, and that will inform how you talk about it. But this idea of expertise, that we need to be an expert in order to talk about something is that idea that I would like to do away with it


Michael Mioduski  21:50

with authenticity as like part of your subtitle, too, I think we can tell when it just feels more real when someone's like, Hey, I'm not an expert at this, but I really wanted to learn and here's what I've learned so far. And I think there's something about that, like humility to say, here's where I'm I started, here's where I'm at, I think I still have to learn a few things, is also a little more endearing, I think are like authentic when they're not trying to pretend that they know everything, you know, and I love that approach as well.


Danielle Barnes  22:18

Yeah, when you like Molly just said, relatable. I think like sometimes we're hearing from someone who is a lot more removed in their learning journey on that topic. It's harder to relate to them, it's harder to know, like, Okay, well, I'm struggling with this problem. And you're telling me, you know, this new idea, but I like that doesn't help me where I am right now, because that's not where I am right now. And so, you know, not to say that we can't learn from people who are more experienced in their field. But I do think that we don't only need to hear from quote unquote, experts. And I also think that we need to redefine what an expert has. Yeah. And


Molly Geoghegan  22:53

there's power, you say this as well, in the book, where it's like, there's power in sharing where you're at in the story to like, you don't have to be at the very end and looking back at the mountain, you could still be like, working your way up the mountain, not sure what the summit's gonna look like, etcetera, etcetera, without turning around to the perfect bow on it story, you know, that's still can be turned into a story of itself. And I think it can often be more powerful in that way to just relate to people that might be also in that journey. I,


Danielle Barnes  23:18

I love an unfinished story. That is something that has really stood out to me in the past couple of years, especially early on with women talk design, when I started talking to people who I thought should be speakers, but I didn't see them speaking publicly, I would, you know, ask them like, Oh, you're telling you about this amazing project. You're working on this huge initiative, and you're leaving leading at work? Why don't you talk about that? And the response that I would hear was, well, you know, I haven't I haven't finished it yet. Like I don't have all my lessons learned or not a night spill on it. Like I can't talk about it yet, because I don't have the conclusion. And I think that there's so much power to sharing unfinished story, be it to let people know that like, you're in the messy middle, and they might be in the messy middle and they're not alone. I think it can also be an avenue to invite people in to help solve your problems, we really like to solve other people's problems, and it's hard to solve our own. And so if you're kind of stuck in this messy middle of your story, that can be a reason to share it. Or you know, you might share where you are to propose a feature of how like what your conclusion or resolution might be. And so I think that it's important if you are to share an unfinished story to know why you're sharing it. That's going back to your why is always important. But I would like to see more unfinished story. A great,


Molly Geoghegan  24:39

I love a movie that ends that way to a little like open for interpretation. leaves you wanting cool? Yes, because then, I mean, from a professional career standpoint, you know, if you share a story that you're like, halfway through a project, then you definitely have a bill ready to go for your second presentation when you finish it and when you look back on it right bringing in Your presentation experience a little bit here. Danielle, you mentioned, I believe it's you that say you, you would prefer to be behind the scenes. And Christina, traditionally, was the one always going out and speaking, but you have presented quite a bit. And I am yeah, I'm curious what that experience has been like for you with both like picking a topic and also just like getting through nerves. And you know, I don't know if you identify as an introvert or not. But yeah, any advice you'd have to people who also might identify as a behind the scenes person?


Danielle Barnes  25:26

Yeah. It's funny, because I think that I'm a little less traditional of like, a typical introvert or someone who doesn't want to speak because anyone who knows me thinks like, Oh, you are very extroverted, like you I was a camp counselor, I was a group exercise instructor, I was a cheerleader growing up, like I could get in front of a room and you know, improv. Yeah. I don't know that I was comfortable. But I could act comfortable, right. But I think, you know, my introversion is I like to recharge alone, like after that I need to go spend an hour by myself in a room not playing with anyone. So for me, the reason I've always really liked to be behind the scenes, because I wanted to help other people shine that's, you know, so much of, I guess my personal mission in life is to really help amplify people who are doing amazing work. And I, you know, I wanted them to speak and not necessarily be the one who was speaking or sharing, which is funny, because I hear a lot of people share that. And when we've talked to Biden, and then I'm like, No, we need to hear your voice. And I think part of writing this book was me going through that process of, oh, I need to be the hype woman that I'm trying to be you for everyone else and say, okay, like, I have ideas and experience that I need to share too. So I think that has been, what has motivated me to speak as this, like deeper belief that there are things that need to be shared and changes that I want to make that speaking can be a vehicle for, and in terms of my preparation, you know, I think that for me, I when I get nervous, I get like really over energized and like everything is kind of running through me. And so a lot of my preparation is actually helping myself calm down, rather than, you know, maybe who is someone that is more low energy, like needs to hype themselves up to get excited, I, as much as I like would prefer not necessarily to be in front of a room. I am like, super amped up at noon. So need to need to dial it back a little bit through, you know, some type of exercise that can get or like moving my body to get some of those extra nerves out or doing deep breathing exercises, minimizing caffeine, trying to center myself before I speak, rather than trying to necessarily like amp myself up to go out. Right.


Molly Geoghegan  27:46

I really relate to that. I identify as an extrovert, Mike and I used to have a whole podcast about you know, making demystifying sales and you know, it's not just like the extroverts game like everyone can do it. But I think for me, I as well as a coffee lover and as a high energy excitable person, I think it's more like zeroing in and calming down instead of like school like punching the wall. Here we go. Um, because I can often have a little bit too much like adrenaline and I almost in excitement stumble over my words. I speak really fast. Yeah, Mikey, what's your you've been presenting more and more? What's your presentation prep looking like these days?


Michael Mioduski  28:22

Yeah. I think Daniella, you'll have it in the book. One, there's a couple of different types of people like said, no, no, two people do it the same way. But I definitely feel like I'm the person who I don't want to talk to anybody. Before, you know, before I have to go up, I feel like I have to be alone and like, but I think I get to to an internal. So I just I want to keep practicing as well, because I don't think I figured it out. But I tried to I've been avoiding people Molly, like the hours leading up to it. I just paste frantically, you know, get all sweaty but no, definitely. So that's how I do it.


Molly Geoghegan  28:53

If I'm if I have to have a conversation with someone before, even before coming in to the podcast or something, I'm like, I can't hold that. Like I'm not present in that, you know, I'm like, I got it. My brain is here and I'm ready to transition and focus. It's too tough to hold it all at once. That is


Danielle Barnes  29:08

I know y'all only had a chance to read the beginning part of the book. But the second half of the book, we do have a chapter on preparing yourself and like what should you do? When you're feeling those nerves? First of all, that those nerves you're not alone in them. Second, involve that they're going to show up and make up stuff. They're gonna show up differently in different people. And the third piece of it is to get some tools and techniques that you could try out, but figure out what works for you and so you can make your own routine. And so, Molly, there are a couple exercises about staying focused and present when there's a lot of things yes, yeah, having your attention.


Molly Geoghegan  29:44

I need those noise cancelling headphones on you know, yeah, I'm so glad you brought up part two of the book Danielle because one thing we definitely wanted to bring in we Mikey and I love a story framework. I felt so excited to see you guys's own story arc doodle really resonated with But Part Two is about building the presentation, as you said, and you've introduced the camp framework, if we could share a little bit about that without, you know, giving it all away so people can tune in. Yeah. What is the camp framework? Yeah,


Danielle Barnes  30:11

of course. So one of the many amazing things about Christina and my co author and the founder, woman talk design is that she thinks in frameworks. And thankfully for all of us, she shared these frameworks as well, that's actually years ago, she published an article called a theory for designing just about anything, Christina had the design background. And this framework is called Camp. And we have been using it you know, since we ran our first present yourself workshop, to teach how to craft a presentation. And so that is a central part of this book. And one of the things I really love about camp, I'm happy to share, like, what it all stands for, is that it is a framework that allows flexibility for you to still create your own way. And that's one of the things we really want to emphasize in this book is like, it's not prescriptive, it's not, you must do this. And like this is how a presentation should look. It's more about, you know, providing a way of exploring, you know, how you might create your own presentations. And so camp stands for contacts, architecture, mechanics and poetics. And we go into much more detail of this the book, but just from a high level, it's about, you know, before you even start crafting a presentation, really thinking about the the context of the constraints, it's who you're designing the presentation for, what your goals are, what's the format, understanding all the elements that are going to affect your presentation before you, you know, might just open up PowerPoint, or even start creating your outline, like getting really clear on your goals and who this is for and how that's going to influence your presentation. And then A is for architecture, that's when you get to start to think about okay, well, what is the shape of my presentation? What are the elements that I'm putting it, and this is where we talked about story a lot, which is so key to effective presentations. M is for mechanics, and neither the tools and techniques that you can use to really engage your audience and create the experience that you want to. And so there's a lot involved with mechanics, there is narrative mechanics, which includes things like humor, or foreshadowing or using positive, there is beautiful mechanics. So this is when we started to think about slides or props, or any type of visuals you might use. And then finally, delivery mechanics. So this is you as a speaker, how you're creating the experience of your talk by how you show up. And then finally, P is for poetics. And this is ultimately the experience that you're hoping to create for your audience. So C A M is building up to this P, it's ultimately like, how you want your audience to feel during your presentation, and what is the change that you want to create? And then, so it comes at the end because you're designing toward it, but ultimately, something you want to think about early on. So when we introduce kind of a deeper dive in the book, we hear context and poetics together, because you want to think about your poetics early, even though it's something that comes at the end of the framework. Would


Molly Geoghegan  33:07

that include potentially like that one key takeaway, like what do you want the audience to feel? And then walk away remembering, like, the overall feeling? And yeah, thought that when they saw you up on stage, yeah, we


Danielle Barnes  33:19

talk about hands, head and heart. So that think, feel and do like, what do you want your audience to think after your presentation? What do you want them to feel? And what do you want them to do?



Oh, cool. I love that.


Michael Mioduski  33:30

You mentioned how story is so important in effective presentations. And if you if you look up like storytelling on Amazon, I feel like there's a billion different, you know, books on this topic. What's your take on story? And you know, why? Why is it so important? Study?


Danielle Barnes  33:47

Because in our workshops, when I've asked people why story is important, it's never silent, like people always have an answer to why storytelling is important. It's engaging, it's how we connect with one another, it helps things come to life, I find that a lot of people know that storytelling is powerful. It's that step of okay, how do you actually incorporate them into presentations that can be really challenging, especially business presentations, because we talk about both presenting externally but also internally at work. And I think that latter one is really difficult for folks when it comes to storytelling. What I really love is that in the book, in addition to saying like, yes, storytelling is important. For all those reasons, we actually put into some research that a man named Kindle even has done and talked about to show the science of story. And it's not like paper, not just that we all inherently know that story is important, but our brain actually responds to story and Kindle even partnered with 47 neuroscientists got a grant from the US government to do this research to figure out how our brains actually respond to story and it affects all kinds of things oxytocin and dopamine. And there's science that shows that it helps us Connected helps us understand that helps us remember, storytelling is just so powerful. And what we hope to break down is how to actually use it in your presentation.


Molly Geoghegan  35:10

I love that section so much. And I'm like, I feel like we could do a whole nother podcast talking about that science piece of the science of story. I wrote down the quote, you know, we're hardwired to make sense of the world in story terms, because anytime we hear like a new piece of information, we associate some kind of story with it, and it'll stick better. I love the Kindle Haven research and I loved Christina's previous experience writing a book on you know, objectives and key results, like kind of an objectively like unsexy are unmemorable thing to talk about and hanging a story around that. And that's how she made her book six, less success and how it all pulled together. And I just thought that was a brilliant way to bring in story and talk about the importance of it, the micro story suggestions, you guys have to like, if you're finding that you might not even have a personal story to share in your presentation, because I think a lot of people are like, Well, I was out at the park the other day, you know, that's how you like open a presentation you like, and I was thinking to myself, and if you don't have something like that, there's so many other ways you can apply story to your presentation. And you guys give some really, really solid advice on how to implement that.


Danielle Barnes  36:13

Yeah, I want I want to hear more stories and presentations. And what I really hope that folks will take away from that section is that there's several different ways to do it. It's not just like, okay, like you said, Molly, I don't need to just have this personal story that I share. I can, you know, share someone else's story, I might share a fictional story, I can do this in a micro story format. There's a quote in the book from Annette Simmons, who wrote a great book on storytelling that talks about why storytelling is so important in business settings, because it helps us make sense of new information. So if we're just getting people facts, or data without the story, we're going to fit that into our heads and an old stories that we already know. And so by telling a new story and helps us remember this new piece of information with this new story, yeah,


Molly Geoghegan  36:59

100%. Yeah. Oh, man, I have to like, resist myself here, because we could talk about this for so much longer. But it is such a funny job. I would love to have a funny compilation of those openings, you know, because I think sometimes people think they need some kind of epiphany in Paris or something. But you can fly story in so many ways. Like it doesn't have to be this grand cinematic thing, you know? Yeah, I know. We've just got a few minutes left, and we want to get into the spice cabinet. Mikey, what do you think?


Michael Mioduski  37:25

Let's do it. Because I see a big old pile of books behind you, Danielle. Yeah, no presentation thinker, like, like Molly and I, what are some of your favorite resources are books, podcasts, media, whatever that you think we should dive into next?


Danielle Barnes  37:39

Yeah, there are so many great resources for public speaking. And it's something we tried to point to in the book. It's also, you know, at the end of all of our programs, we give people a big PDF book, like, here's all the books, you should check out all the articles, I'm thinking they did have some behind me. I mean, there are so many great ones. So I love for storytelling. We talked about this in the book. Nancy Duarte has written several great books on presentation storytelling. Dan Brohm, who wrote show and tell and does a lot of visual communication has some great frameworks for thinking about story and presentation. One of the books I have here that I also love that's not a traditional public speaking book, but I talk about a lot is Priya Parker's the art of gathering. Do you all credit?


Michael Mioduski  38:23

No. My wife and I started on she finished it. I started it. Yeah. I would love to hear your take on it. Oh, tell me more. Yeah, it's so


Danielle Barnes  38:30

good. So Parker writes about gathering and being, you know, facilitating any type of gathering together. So it could be a birthday, it could be a wedding, it could be a meeting. And I truly believe that when you're speaking, you are the host of that gathering in the moment. And so I think there's so many great lessons that you can learn from Peter Parker's book from, you know, who your audiences and being really intentional about that to sticking with the goal of your presentation. I think one of the places we referenced it in the book is when doing q&a of a presentation, and you then what she calls generous authority as a way of staying on topic. I think a lot of people during q&a, you know, get nervous and also don't want to upset people. And so there might be someone who is going on and on asking like a 10 per question and everyone else in the audience is like, okay, When is this gonna stop? And the speaker may think I don't want to interrupt them. That's rude. Yeah, but applying what Priya Parker calls generous authority would mean you know, pausing that person and, you know, saying like, let's just focus on your first question. And you're doing that not just for yourself, but also for everyone in the room. And I love this idea of generous authority as a public beggar. Yeah,


Molly Geoghegan  39:44

being the guide. So good. That's cool. Adding to the list with that we love Nancy Duarte and we love Dan Rome, but I've never heard of prayer Parker this book so it's one of the reasons I love asking that question. And then in your own personal life Danielle do in do you also find yourself listening to presentation podcasts or Presentation Brookswood what are some other recommendations that you? Yeah,


Danielle Barnes  40:03

you know what's so funny? And I was thinking about this as well, you know, we've been thinking about mostly talking on more podcasts for the book is that most of the podcasts I listen to are definitely seeing more of my personal life than professional life. And Sally, my favorite podcast is we can do hard things with Glenn and Doyle on episode. Good, Amanda. Oh, yeah. So and I'm sure that if I once I think about it, I learned a lot that I can use in presentations from that. But I have it. I don't know if I have specific presentation podcasts. I can recommend this one, obviously, presentation thinking or listening. You're here to hear. But yeah, in terms of speaking resources on women talk design.com. We have a lot of interviews with speakers. One of the things we really want to emphasize again, is there there's no one right way to approach speaking. And so we ran an event series called speakers stories where we interviewed a speaker about how they got started, what their processes for developing presentation, how they've handled when things had gone wrong, during presentations, recorded all of them wrote blog posts, they're all on the Willingham design website. There's also a directory of 1000 speakers and many of them have posted talks. And I think that's another great resource to watch how other people present and you know, see what it is that you might be inspired by and want to try it yourself.


Michael Mioduski  41:23

So we have a very important question, Daniel, which is, what is your walkout song?


Molly Geoghegan  41:29

I think this falls under the mechanics Oh,


Danielle Barnes  41:34

wouldn't be my mechanic. Oh, no


Molly Geoghegan  41:35



Danielle Barnes  41:36

it depends on my context, I have to say, Okay, so one of the things that I tried to do is match the, like, theme of my walkout song to what the presentation is on. So when I talk about storytelling, Neverending Story by Oprah, she was me now something analysing that song from the 80s I should know I don't have it on yet. But we about when a lot that we do a workshop called deliver with confidence. And I don't know any of the artists is embarrassing. I have Selena Gomez has What's wrong with being confident? So I try to find, you know, songs that talk about some of the key words that went with the presentation that I'm giving. I mean, a good kind of go to as always holla notes, or lives that island was so I could I could walk out to any of those that song. Yes. So if i i depends.


Michael Mioduski  42:37

excellent choices. Yeah. Is


Molly Geoghegan  42:39

it someone named? I just Googled limo? Yeah, the Neverending Story. Yes.


Danielle Barnes  42:45

It's so it's so 80s It's so good. Yes. Yeah. I feel like it's gotten a revival from I'll watch that TV show.


Molly Geoghegan  42:52

I think it's a theme. Yeah, exactly. I


Danielle Barnes  42:55

was just, I know it was faithful. It's from a movie but that takes Stranger Things. stranger thing that by bringing back all things 80s Has that song and it definitely does. Like it's gotten a revival recently.


Molly Geoghegan  43:06

I know. Literally. Yeah. There's something comes up with like one of the Stranger Things character in that song title. Oh, yeah. I


Danielle Barnes  43:12

mean, it's it's so good. It's yeah, that's a favorite. When we're talking about storytelling to have a look. Come on. I


Molly Geoghegan  43:19

think thank you for sharing, I feel validated that you have some literal examples, because in my keynotes previous lunch and learns about very specific PowerPoint slides will, will take it to a literal sense. And problem slide. I think we had 99 problems by Jay Z plane. And as was similar to why we had slide by Google dolls for obvious purposes, you know, so nice. It's fun to just kind of be jokey about it. You know, it sets the tone part of the poetics I guess, too, right? Yeah.


Danielle Barnes  43:47

Yeah. I love I love start. Well, we host a lot of events. And I always try to start with music, because I think that it will help people transition into the space. And


Molly Geoghegan  43:54

speaking of events, what is happening this year for women talk design, of course, the books coming out. So where can people preorder order it, what's going on there?


Danielle Barnes  44:03

We have called this year, the year of present yourself, which is probably very fitting as that's the name of our book. So we have several cohorts of our EBT program that are running one serve in a couple of weeks. And we're also launching the book and so really focusing this year on helping give folks the tools and techniques and inspiration that they need to share their voice. So if you had to woman talk design.com/present yourself will lead you to the course. Women pack design.com/book will lead you to all things book. And we are hoping to announce pre orders at the end of January. Give and take some weeks. Yep. But the book will launch in early 2020. All right. end


Molly Geoghegan  44:46

of January. Pre look for those preorders. Follow him and talk design on social on LinkedIn. Get to know can people find you anywhere on LinkedIn the best place to reach you?


Danielle Barnes  44:55

Yeah, LinkedIn. For me personally.


Michael Mioduski  44:58

Yeah. Awesome. Dan. Do you have any any parting shots for the presentation thinkers and aspiring speakers out there?


Danielle Barnes  45:05

I think that oh man, I wish I always try to have like, my like notebooks with me handy to use as visuals and I don't, we have. So we ran a Kickstarter campaign for the present ourselves book because we self published it, which is a whole other story. But as part of it, we need these notebooks that say someone needs to hear what you have to say. And I think that's the reminder I want to leave folks with is that there is someone if that many people out there who need to hear your story, your experience your advice, and so I hope that you will speak and share it. Well.





Michael Mioduski  45:41

Do it y'all do it, Molly. Yeah. Oh, well,


Molly Geoghegan  45:44

I'm off to go sign up for a cohort. So I'll see you later this year for sure.


Danielle Barnes  45:49

I can't wait. Thank you both so much.


Molly Geoghegan  45:52

We feel so lucky. We got to chat and get a sneak preview of the book. Can't wait for the rest of it. And let's find another excuse to talk more about story science next time. Yeah, I'd love that. In the meantime, everyone keep on pitching

About The Author

Molly Geoghegan, Narrative Strategist

Molly Geoghegan is a writer, organizer, and film school dropout. She hikes frequently with her dog, Guinness, and signs up for too many email newsletters. Having lived in Chicago, Paris, Dublin and Galway, Molly has made her way back to the Rockies and calls Denver, CO home.

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