I made it through my first lightning talk at the May meeting of the Nashville .NET user group. If you want some background you can check out this post on my preparation for the talk.
This post is going to be mostly for me to look back on in the future in case I decided to attempt another talk, but I am sure if someone is a new speaking it could be a useful as well.
Overall the talk went OK. There was no huge epic failure, but it far from a good talk. I was extremely nervous which lead to me be locked to the podium and flying through the talk way faster than I should have. I am pretty soft spoken and didn’t project as much as I really needed to. As a result of that is my points weren’t as clear as I would have liked.
David Neal was right that the audience does want you to succeed. There were a couple of questions at the end of my talk which made me feel that my point wasn’t totally lost. I got feedback for some of the audience members and other speakers which I included in the previous paragraph. All the feedback was presented to me in a kind manner which I greatly appreciated.
In the future, if I try speaking again I have a lot of things I can improve on. I know that sounds negative, but I am looking at it as an opportunity to grow. I now know that I will need more time during the prepping stage to practice out loud and in front of people.
I love technology and sharing what I learn with others. That is one of the reasons I write this blog every week. Speaking may or may not be part of the future way I get to share with other, but I am happy to now know it is something I can do. It would require a ton of work, but it is no longer something I can’t ever see myself doing.
This will be the first time I have done any sort of talk since the required speeches I did in grammar and high school. In college, all the required speaking was attached to some sort of group work in which I was happy to do some extra legwork if another group member was willing to do the presentation.
Based on what I have written so far I am sure you have picked up on the fact that speaking is terrifying to me. Although I have forced myself into more social situations in the last few years it has done nothing to alleviate my fear of speaking to a group of people.
Trying speaking is something that has been in the back of my mind for a few years. Speaking is an area I have always shied away from, but over the last few years listening to people like Scott Hanselman, Cory House, Jeremy Clark and David Neal among others and their take on speaking/giving back to the community planted a seed that speaking is something I need to try at least once.
David Neal’s talk on Public Speaking without Barfing on Your Shoes was especially encouraging to me. Here is a recording of the talk from the last Nodevember.
The next thing I did was to create a checklist of all the thing I need to do before the talk. The following is an example of where it stands at the moment.
- Flesh out the outline
- Add important items for each point in the outline
- Create and test demo
- Test demo offline
- Create a couple of slides
- Practice out loud
Of the above having to practice out loud is the one I dread the most. I am not sure what it is about hearing one’s own voice, but it is always disconcerting.
I am still in the prepping stages and ever day that the talk gets closer the more nervous I get. There is also a level of excitement to see if this could be something I enjoy. It would be fun to have a new way to share my enjoyment and lessons learned outside of this blog.
I will post an update here or a full new post after the talk with how I felt it went. I will also hopefully have the feedback of a few others as well.