Skip to content
Photo by LOGAN WEAVER | @LGNWVR on Unsplash

My Journey To Prepare as a Keynote Speaker

  • Public Speaking
  • Conference
  • Personal Development

📅 September 23, 2023

⏱️5 min read


Photo by Vladislav Klapin on Unsplash All road leads to Rome. After crossing the famous bridge where thousands of people commute daily between Malaysia and Singapore. Into the vast land of palm trees that i see with my eye. Among the crowd, I was sitting alone on a bus full of people travelling to KL (Kula Lumpur).

Thoughts come to my mind, "What the fuck have i gotten myself into?" While I travel alone to a city that i know nothing of or have never gone to myself with two bags in the moving coach for the 2nd time in my life.

Beyond my wildest dream, I would never imagine myself being a keynote speaker at an overseas tech conference when i was at ITE (Institute of Technical Education trade or vocational school where I was teaching senior community leaders to train other seniors to use tech as part of my community service.

Dread in Public Speaking

Photo by Matthew Osborn on Unsplash Before I began my journey to becoming a speaker or teacher. My aim in the beginning was to learn to become an effective communicator. I started with How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie when i was just a 17 or 18-year-old conscript serving my nation.

In the book, there was a survey result on the most common fear among many people is public speaking. Therefore Dale seeks to rid this fear he forced all participants to take their turn in the human relationship and communication workshop to speak in front of a group audience in each session.

At first, this was just a short 1 - 2 minute talk about a topic of their interest or applying the communication technique they had learnt in the previous session at the start.

As the number of sessions passed slowly, the duration grew to 10 or 15 minutes for each student. Great transformation occurs for participants with a demeanour that is either shy, nervous, embarrassed or stuttering in the early session to the later session spoke with an air of confidence.

I started as a person who hates to speak in public, even to this day despite multiple practices, workshops and places i have spoken in. I always have the same dread whenever I am in an unfamiliar environment speaking for the first time i tend to lose sleep whenever I am scheduled to speak.

Preparations To Becoming a Better Speaker

bruno-nascimento-PHIgYUGQPvU-unsplash When I first received the keynote invite, I was worried about how to prepare for my first keynote conference. Along with the dread and my fear that I would not be able to provide a fruitful and captivating keynote for the start of PyCon Malaysia.

But luckily in the present day, learning to speak in public is much easier out of all the content I did my research on. The most outside of them all is the MIT video by the late Professor Patrick Winston and mastering the use of your voice to tell a story.

It is OK to Ask for Help If You Feeling Overwhelmed

Photo by Martin Sanchez on Unsplash Travelling alone for the first time after the pandemic with little to no idea of how to travel to Kula Lumpur. I was overwhelmed by how to get my butt to the venue of PyCon Malaysia beyond my Google map.

I went to Facebook to ask for help from my network of friends to travel to KL by bus. I received support from my network from a coach booking website to articles on how to do it.

Pretty amazing that without me spending alot of my time and effort to cultivate this network. I would not have known how to book a coach and travel to KL for the first time. Instead, I would be spending tons of my own time figuring out how to do it.

Therefore my suggestion for you in life is when times you feel overwhelmed ask for help. Be it your friends or family or any kind souls in your network will be there to help you when you need help.

If you don't have these kind souls, maybe you should spend some time soul-searching on why you do not have these people around you to support you. Maybe change yourself or step out of your comfort zone to make friends or cultivate this network to solve their problems within your limits.


Photo by Bas van den Eijkhof on Unsplash As i get to the end of the article, I would like to give a word of advice for anyone who reads this till the end and myself.

Life is full of opportunities and abundance regardless of where you are in your current situation. Never be consumed by fear while executing or thinking to take on the opportunities that come knocking at your door by stepping outside your comfort zone.

Just remember that this could be a journey that can leave fruitful memories in life regardless of the outcome. The last thing you want to embark on is to live a life of quiet desperation. Lastly, this is my slide for the PyCon Malaysia for anyone interested in it. Mento mori (Remember you must die)


-The Leader's Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative

← PrevNext →
  • Powered by Contentful
  • Max Ong Zong Bao's DEV Profile