HERE ARE THE TITLES OF SOME OF SHARON'S RECENT TALKS:

Empathetic communication: why vulnerability is the key to collaboration

In business as well as in life, few things are more important to your success than building relationships. But so often, relationships fail before they get solid footing because we as humans sometimes have a difficult time connecting. That connection begins with empathy. And the key to empathy? Vulnerability.

Sharon is a stutterer, and she knows how valuable one’s voice is. She also knows how it feels to attempt to share an idea only to fail miserably as a result of a communications breakdown. After years of struggling to join the conversation, she finally learned how communicate her ideas in a way that forced people to listen. And that’s what she’s going to discuss with you. The takeaways from this talk will be learning how to value the listener, improved collaboration at the office and becoming a master at building a relationship quickly and effectively.

What stuttering taught me about marketing

We’re all marketers – of our companies, our brands and ourselves. On the surface, we know what to do. Have a website. Hand out our business cards. Shake a lot of hands. And talk about the thing we want to be know (and hired) for. But there is a different level of marketing that can raise your exposure ten-fold. Unfortunately, most people don’t tap into it.

I’m Sharon, and I stutter. Because of my impediment, I had to get creative with how I communicated with people and presented myself. But after years of hiding it, I realized that the thing that made me different in a not-so-great way gave me the opportunity to be a more effective listener, have more empathy and communicate with others in ways that that I wouldn’t have thought of if it wasn’t for my speech impediment.

How to talk to humans: a different appraoch to soft skills

Developers are trained to communicate to things with a goal in mind. When you're talking to a computer, you type in your code and it responds by giving you back what you want. Simple and straight forward. When talking to people? Not always the case. Why? Because talking to people requires a special set of skills - namely, empathy and a little bit of storytelling. In an industry filled with brilliant minds, great ideas and mass disruption, so few of the best and brightest know how to tell their compelling story. This talk teaches you how.

The art of meaningful connection: a fear-based approach to communication

We spend all day communicating with people - verbally, nonverbally, on social media, over the phone, and in a myriad of other ways. But have you noticed that even though we are always connected to people, we aren't every really connecting with people? As a stutterer I know the struggle to effectively get your point across, especially in a time-crunched society. We as humans are rushed, rarely patient and generally in transit to the next thing.

And I understand; I spend just as much time flying through the day as the next person. But I also understand the value of human interaction, and the fear that comes along with the idea of it. I've tried - and failed - at having meaningful conversations many times because of fear that I won't be accepted for who I am. But once I opened myself up to potential rejection, I ended up being accepted and celebrated for being flawed.

Let's explore that fear together: the fear of reaching out, of real conversations and of willingly extending our hand to others looking to truly connect with us. Our weaknesses are often times great compliments to our strengths; it's time to be inspired to embrace vulnerabilities, empower our weaknesses and truly connect with the human beings around us.

Recent places Sharon has spoken:

  • Madison Plus Ruby 2014 - Madison, Wisc.
  • RailsConf 2015 - Atlanta, Ga.
  • Open West Conference 2015 - Orem, Utah
  • LambdaConf 2015 - Boulder, Co.
  • DockerCon 2015 - San Francisco, Calif.
  • Open Source Bridge 2015 - Portland, Oregon
  • Burlington Ruby 2015 - Burlington, Vt.
  • AlterConf Chicago - Chicago, Ill.
  • Madison Plus Ruby 2015 - Madison, Wisc.
  • DjangoCon 2015 - Austin, Texas
  • From the Front 2015- Bologna, Italy
  • AndYet Conf 2015 - Pasco, Wash.
  • RubyConf Colombia 2015 - Medellin, Colombia
  • SunshinePHP 2016 - Miami, Fla.
  • Peers Conf 2016 - St. Petersburg, Fla.
  • LambdaConf 2016 - Boulder, Colo.
  • Pittsburgh Tech Fest 2016 - Pittsburgh, Penn.
  • Web Design Day 2016 - Pittsburgh, Penn.
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