15 July 2019

Speaker clinic for LAST Conference

For the last few years we have run a speaker clinic for people presenting and running sessions at Melbourne's LAST Conference. This is a description of what we do.

Who is the Speaker Clinic for?

  • First time speakers: Many people are engaging in their first public speaker of public facilitation session.
  • Experience but infrequent speakers: People with years of experience but who aren't out doing public speaking on a regular basis can come along and pick up new tips and ideas.
  • The Veteran public speaker - or anyone - who is new to the LAST community: It is a place to come and meet people from the community and get a better understanding of the demographic.

How does the day work?

We usually run this clinic on a Saturday a few weeks out from the event. We start at about 10:00am and run to 2:00pm or sometime to 2:30.  We meet where Ed works in the city. We have a few meeting rooms and break out spaces which will come in handy, as you'll see below.

We believe that learning and improvement works best when you combine your existing experiences, doing something for real, reflection and conscious improvement plans come together. It's the Heart of Agile idea applied.  So, we curate content about public speaking, get you to practice in front of others, reflect on how you are doing, and then have discussions and then practice improving.

You don't need to have your talk or presentation ready. We are focus on on skills, not your actual session on the day.

The actual clinic

We begin each session with a brief welcome. People say hello to each other, and we set out our goals and timeline for the day.  During the day we interleave activities, videos, and discussions.


The activities are about doing a short talk and being recorded. Then watch the video and observe the things you like and don’t like. You’ll do at least three rounds of this and get the opportunity to practice your speaking form. You’ll also be encouraged to practice at home.

What we are doing with the videos is giving you a chance to see yourself as others will see you (but with your own hyper critical sense of yourself.). We believe that seeing yourself in action is the best way for you to identify what you need to focus on and improve.


We have sorted through the tens of thousands of videos online and found a handful that cover what we consider the most important aspects of public speaking. Sure there is more you can dive into, but this short list of 4 videos get you a long way.

The videos include fundamental techniques, examples, structure and motivation. I’ll list the videos we played most recently below.


Of course, at LAST conference we lean heavily on the participants. We value your experience and the knowledge you come to us with, and so though-out the day we engage in group discussions and ask the people in the room with us to reflect on their learning throughout the day, and to share their experience and knowledge with the others in the room.

Is it valued?

It is a pretty good day. It’s a relaxed pace, but we cover good ground. And despite it being on a Saturday we have found participants are enthusiastic about being there, and declare they got value and their sessions at LAST will be better as a result.

If you are thinking about speaking at LAST Conference in the future consider coming along to the clinic.


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