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Public Speaking

Reflection on Chapter 10: How Does Public Speaking Impact My Career?

Each blog post in this series (#WIWIK) will take a moment to reflect on the questions at the end of each chapter.

Feel free to join the conversation by responding in the comments with your answers to the discussion questions (with plain text or a link to your post).

Before I get into the reflection component, I have to admit that public speaking was not something I anticipated being included in this book. It seemed obvious to me that an instructional designer would need to have a solid understanding of learning theory, design frameworks, andragogy, project management, and the ability to work well with others. It was less obvious to me that public speaking would be an essential skill, but Hobson drives home the point by asserting that public speaking means influence and leadership and a key part of giving demos, walkthroughs, presenting at conferences and workshops, hosting webinars, winning over SMEs and project sponsors, and doing well enough in an interview to even get a job as an instructional designer.

With that being said, here is the reflection question for the tenth chapter:

Think about your favorite presentation or speaker. What did you feel during the talk? What was it about the speaker that you found so engaging?

My favorite presentation is Clint Smith's Ted Talk on "The Danger of Silence", but before I talk about what I think made it so great, it only seems right to share the presentation itself with you.

While this presentation was merely four minutes long, there were several things about it that, in my opinion, make it so powerful:

  • Smith opens up by making clear what is at stake and why what he's talking about is important by stating the consequences of silence are discrimination, violence, war, and genocide.

  • His four core principles (read critically, write consciously, speak clearly, and tell your truth) are succinct and powerful. They also resonate strongly with the former Language Arts teacher in me.

  • I appreciate his wordsmithing throughout the talk (french fries/french kisses, being more concerned about touching the screen on his Apple than feeding a homeless person an apple, etc.).

  • A strong conclusion that doubles as a call to action.

  • As far as speaking itself, Smith does a great job changing his intonation, volume, and speed to match what he's saying.


If this is the first time you've heard Clint Smith, I'd strongly encourage you to check out his other published works (and I'd strongly recommend you get the audiobook versions of his poetry):



Hobson, L. (2021). What I Wish I Knew Before Becoming an Instructional Designer. Independently published.

Smith, C. (2014). The danger of silence [Video]. TED Talks.

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