Public Speaking Confessions

Six years ago, when I moved to the US when working for eBay, I set myself two goals: 1) Build up a network of people in my industry,Internet Marketing 2) Get more comfortable with speaking in public. Now looking back, I'm happy to say that I made good progress on both of these goals!

SEO Networking in the USA

Over the last 6 years, I managed to meet a lot of people. It is not a coincident as I made an effort every time I was at a conference. As I described in a recent interview with Aimclear:

One of the efforts I always found important is to build a broad network and connect with people who at least understand what I’m talking about on what I do on a daily basis. The first conference I went in the US was SMX Advanced in Seattle in 2006. First night I met with my friend Scott Polk (now at ObsidianEdge) and Scott Skurnick (now at Sears), both at Edmunds at the time. We still keep in touch and get together when we attend the same conferences.

Even to this day, when I go to a conference, I have a goal to meet new people. And not only meet them, but also stay in touch and check in after the conference. You never know who you can help in the future, or introduce people to each other!

Presenting at SMX Sydney

Speaking in Public

Meeting new people is easier when you are one of the speakers. Not that I see myself as a Rock Star on the speaker circuit, but it's a simpler opening to approach people and ask questions. In the last 3 years, I spoke at several small or large conferences, but the funny thing is, I'm still nervous before I speak.

Just recently I started to read the book Confessions of a Public Speaker, in which Scott Berkun tells all kind of stories what he has experienced travelling the world for speaking performances. Already on page 8, Scott brings in a great perspective out of Dale Carnegie's Public Speaking for Success:

Good speakers usually find when they finish that there have been four versions of the speech: the one they delivered, the one they prepared, the one the newspapers say was delivered, and the one on the way home they wish they had delivered.

For me, I think it's important the audience thought it was worth it to spend their time listening what I have to say at that moment. As long as the audience didn't feel cheated out of 20 minutes or 3 hours of their life, I would say only then I'm satisfied! Which is at the same time, my biggest fear, and I always feel insecure after the session I was speaking at and I'm dying to get feedback from people in the audience. Feedback which would make me better in what I've just delivered.

Speaking at BlueGlass Tampa in 2011

Dennis GoedegebuureGreg Boser (moderator) and William Sears
Foto sourced: BlueGlass

Learn from your Audience

The two best public speaking events I learned a lot from, where not even in the SEO industry. Last year I spoke at the EVO conference (see my post about speaking at EVO 2011 here), where I did a 3 hour SEO workshop for Bloggers. Just 2 weeks ago, I did a similar updated session at the SNAP conference (download a PDF of my presentation here). Three hours, I spoke about what I'm passioned about: Search Marketing, SEO & Blogging! You can read how the audience has experienced the 3 hours presentation here. And trust me, holding the attention of an audience for 3 hours, is really hard!

Presenting at SNAP conference 2012

Presenting at SNAP conference 2012

Photo by Kendra from My Insanity

At the SNAP conference I reconnected with bloggers who sat through the 3 hours SEO workshop at EVO. Asking if they implemented any of the best practices and what happened with their traffic, I was pleased to learn that all of them had significantly grown their traffic. I even got to hear of one website which had grown from 8-9K visitors a months last year, to more than 100K per months right now! I wished I could take credit for this growth, but unfortunately I have only helped the search engines to find the content on these websites easier than before.

My Public Speaking Confessions

The women I spoke at SNAP are so much more successful in Blogging then I am. I'm using this site to rant, publish ideas, news what is happening in San Francisco, and here and there a lost photo. nothing really structured or on one topic. Next to that, I hardly am making enough time to really build out the site, because I simply have way more other stuff to do.

Speaking with people who run a successful site with more than 2 million visitors a months, inspired me to think about new projects. Since I will have some time over the summer, I will start to prepare a new project inspired by the success of all the creative bloggers at EVO & SNAP. More to come!

Oh, and last thing: EVO & SNAP, THANK YOU for the inspiration and the opportunity to for me to learn from you all!




  1. taunitweets says:

    Dennis, You are a phenomenal speaker. I think what makes you so great is your ability to adapt to the audience and make SEO (a seriously complex and sometimes boring topic) understandable and interesting. 
    We are excited for your new project and cannot wait to participate! 

    1. @taunitweets
      Thank you so much for your kind words Tauni.
      I’m humbled by these, as you ladies are all so much more successful with your websites than I am!
      Feel free to download the PDF with my slides, it’s buried in the post, so you will have to read it completely 😀

  2. Thank you so much for your kind words Tauni.
    I’m humbled by these, as you ladies are all so much more successful with your websites than I am!
    Feel free to download the PDF with my slides, it’s buried in the post, so you will have to read it completely 😀

  3. vintagerevivals says:

    Dennis you are AMAZING!  Thank you so much for speaking at SNAP, you are seriously entertaining and your class was one of the favorites!  I cant wait to see what you have up your sleeve!
    Love your guts

    1. @vintagerevivals
      Thank you so much Mandi.
      My blogging is nowhere compared to the success you’re having with your website. I would love to learn more from you!
      I will make sure to include you in my summer project. Already started working on it with a more professional timeline and thinking than my blog here!

  4. taradaramadeit says:

    Dennis!  You were amazing and I would have never thought you were nervous prior.  I think it really helps when you know your topic and are confident in your realm that eases the nerves as you get going.  You did a great job!!!!  I really enjoyed talking with you briefly and I have installed Yoast’s SEO plug in and I think it’s helping me thus far.  Thanks for sharing that with us!

  5. […] and helping others to grow their websites. As I have described in my post on my personal blog Public Speaking Confessions, I’m starting a new project […]