Sharing Our Voices & Reaching Our Audience

Part of the new Presentation tips series

Often, I talk about the importance of voice and sharing. In order to get buy-in from other educators, our administrators, and the general public, we have to show them the impact of our online professional development on our teaching. We need to show them the impact on students. We need to communicate our passion effectively. We have to persuade, convince, and change minds. Changing minds means we have to get folks to listen.

Knowing Our Audience

The folks we want to listen often have judgments about education. Everyone has their own experiences with learning. Most of it stems from a very traditional style of learning they got used to for the majority of their lives. Many of those who want teachers and schools evaluated through standardized testing were the ones who were able to successfully adapt to the system and overcome the system.

The problem is….

We aren’t reaching the students who do not achieve. Millions of students drop-out and can’t read or write at a level that would prepare them for college. Yes, not all children have to go to college but a majority do because that is the way society works. If you do not get a college degree then you are pretty much left struggling to make ends meet.

Another problem is that the millions of students we fail to educate properly are not the ones voting on education policy or voicing their opinions on how their schools failed them. They are the ones struggling to feed their families by working several hours or jobs, on welfare, or in jails. The ones who speak loudly about education and have an impact on education policy are the ones who made it successfully through the traditional system despite the obstacles.

Our voices have to reach them…

Presentations, webinars, workshops, blogs, wikis, videos, and conferences are all great places to share our message. However, the problem might be that we feel inexperienced in sharing or feel frightened about speaking. Many of us may just not be very effective speakers. We may not be able to communicate our excitement or share this with others. Most teachers were not really trained in public speaking or persuasion. The celebrities and politicians who get their messages about education transformation were trained for many years in the art of public speaking. They were trained to effectively get their messages across and they do.

How do we get our message across?

Our education community is growing. Over 50,000 educators worldwide are on social networks if you count the membership of educator groups on Twitter, Facebook, Nings, and other social networks. Our voices can become a roar but we must begin to build our presentation skills.

A Virtual Toastmasters!

Lately, I’ve noticed I’m making several errors while reviewing my recent webinars. This year alone I will conduct over 50 presentations and most of them will be recorded and produced online.  I have this many times to share my message effectively. I have this many times to make an impact on many teachers who may be new to online professional development or teaching in a non-traditional way. My schedule and traveling make it nearly impossible to make face to face meetings even though a Toastmasters chapter does exist in my city. Therefore, I will be starting an online virtual Toastmasters like meeting through either Elluminate, Adobe Connect, or another room. 

Would you like to take part?

If you are interested in taking part, please fill out the Google Form with contact information. I will include you in my e-mail list and share with you the details.

This is what a Toastmasters meeting looks like:


Join a Toastmasters organization in your area or try making one of the virtual meetings!

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What would you like to see in the public speaking help meeting?

Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell),, and on her blog,, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at


  1. Hey, Shelly, I love this idea. I was a member of a Toastmasters group in Denver back in 1994-1995 (right out of college) and loved it. I really learned a great deal and my skills greatly improved. It was a wonderful experience. I joined your group and will be happy to help in any way I am able.

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