When I started this blog, it was to fill a niche I kept stumbling over, in which women in search of good public speaking advice also could find research and information about why, sometimes, their public speaking challenges were different than those that men face.
The blog was still in the think stage when a longtime friend said to me, "I hope you make it a blog for anyone who might have to get up and talk--at a local club or committee, at a funeral or a wedding--and not just in a huge-audience formal speech, although that will be useful, too."
What's happened since is that men tell me, "That's just great advice for everyone," and "I am dealing differently with men and women and presentations at the office now that I've read about those issues on your blog." And women say, "I shared that video with my husband" or "I'm so glad I found this--I thought it was just me." People have been more forthcoming than I could hope about the speaking problems they are encountering. I knew we were all in the right place when a reader wrote in to ask how she should handle speaking at her mother's funeral--and was able to share readers' advice as well as my own. All that is more than I expected.
Now, I want to know more about you. I'm guessing that, too, will be more than I expected.
I'm inviting you to share in the comments your answers to two questions: Who are you? and What are you looking for here? One of my favorite bloggers about science, Ed Yong, just revived this idea on his blog and it's turned up hundreds of interesting comments.
I'd like to know whether you're already a frequent speaker, or haven't yet walked up to a microphone; what motivates you to learn about speaking; whether you're like a friend of mine whose public speaking mostly consists of talking into a speakerphone on hours-long conference calls on which no one can see her. Don't forget to add what you're looking for, please. Asking what you need to know is what has kept this blog on track for a long time now.
Knowing some of the readers, I will guess that the most valuable part of this exercise will be learning--all of us, together--what's out there in terms of people's hopes and aspirations about speaking.
Now it's your turn: Who are you? Share who you are and why you're here in the comments. And thanks for reading.