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Emily Webber at 300 seconds
Emily Webber at 300 seconds, photo by Rachel Miller

Back in February I saw an opportunity on twitter to talk at a fantastic event called 300 seconds. The event is series of lightening talks (300 seconds, or 5 minutes to be precise) on any subject aimed at women speakers. I’ve been looking for more chances to speak in public, so I signed up straight away.

Announcing… @300_seconds! A series of lightning talks for women. A new project from me @sharonodea @hadleybeeman @teacamplondon @loulouk

— Hadley Beeman (@hadleybeeman) April 13, 2013

The introduction on the website states that it is an event to:

“…encourage more women to come forward and gain confidence in speaking in public”

and is a response of a number of conversations around how to even out the gender balance of speakers at events, including this storify from Lorna Prescott.

The first event ran on 14th May and was at facebook’s Covent Garden offices, a relaxed space, which suited the aim to encourage the more nervous speakers to feel a little less so.

This is not an exclusive event and the speakers were not all women, there was at least one man. The topics ranged from those speaking about their professional interests to those talking about passions, like an interest in hand driers in public loos.

I chose to speak about one of my hobbies, which is London Shop Fronts, a photo projects around the more interesting shop fronts that line the London streets. I won’t put the details here, but you can read a little more about my talk and others’ from Martin Belam’s blog posts or see the (un-annotated)  slides here.

It’s great to have opportunities to gain experience in public speaking for those of us who find it tricky and I hope that events like this will enable those who have a lot to share, but we may not have seen speak do more of it.