Scott ran across CFP Land a few months ago, and unlike 99% of subscribers, he reached out to chat. I really enjoy learning from and trading stories with other speakers, so I’m excited to bring his story to life here on the blog. Like many speakers I’ve interviewed, Scott started off reluctant to get on stage, but has turned one of his biggest weaknesses into an indispensable strength.
Tell me about yourself. How did you get into public speaking?
Up until a few years ago I used to fear public speaking. As an introvert, it was something I avoided throughout high school and college. But one day I realized the reason I was scared was because I let the negative self-talk get into my head. Once I shifted the talk to “I want to be a great speaker” everything started to change.
Recently, I made the transition from coaching to speaking full-time because every time I spoke it produced more speaking opportunities and coaching clients. Deep down I love a challenge. Doing something that I viewed as a weakness and turning it into a strength is exhilarating.
What do you like about speaking at conferences?
I like to connect with people individually while I speak on stage. I treat it like coaching, but instead of connecting with one person it’s many at once. I enjoy sharing information on topics I am passionate about. If I can make the content fun and useful it feels like I’m helping people.
What topics do you typically speak about?
Soft Skills. I’ve always loved leadership, but I tried to niche down to soft skills. Hard skills are more marketable, but soft skills are what get your promoted and remembered.
Do you remember your first conference talk? How did it go?
I don’t. I think when I was “forced” to speak I may have blanked it out of my mind. I don’t think I was terrible, but it wasn’t something I looked forward to at the time.
How many conferences have you applied to and spoken at?
I’d say in the hundreds. Most of them have come in the past year, but I’ve definitely applied to a lot over my career.
”Saving Soft Skills From Extinction” by Scott Asai at TEDxLaie
What advice do you have for new speakers?
Practice more. All the resources in the world don’t compare to getting on stage and speaking. You’ll make mistakes. It’s part of growth. Just give yourself more opportunities to get better. Lastly, at some point you have to watch recordings of yourself. As cringeworthy as it may be, it will make you better. No one is a harsher critic of you than you are.
Are there any other speakers you look up to?
I really respect Simon Sinek. His talk Start with Why is what I go back to when I think of speaking. He’s also introverted which helps me relate to him. But it feels like he gets in a zone when he’s speaking. As a sports fan/athlete, I try to get in the zone when I speak too.
Where can readers find more about you?
The best way to find me is on my site: scottasai.com.
Technology conference speakers come from a wide range of backgrounds, experience levels, and interests. At CFP Land, we highlight different speakers every week in our Speaker’s Story blog posts. If you’re a tech conference speaker, email [email protected] to tell your story. 💌