Preparing my first talk
This year I set myself a few goals, one of which was to do more public speaking. I’m not sure anyone is really a natural public speaker, especially not me, but I do think it is a skill that can be developed.
Sharing knowledge is one of the greatest aspects of developer communities.
It is one of the main reasons I help run frontend North East, I think it is important that people have space to connect and share their experiences and knowledge.
You can see my lovely slides here.
Back in January I saw this tweet from LeedsJS
We have short (~25 mins) and main (40+ mins) talk slots available for later in the year. Got an idea? Give us a shout!— LeedsJS (@LeedsJS) January 23, 2017
Testing isn’t the most glamours of topics, so it was quite difficult to come up with a really good talk title.
Content & Design
As I said above I already had a lot of the content for a talk, with code examples, but trying to work out how to condense it and the flow was really difficult.
I made a high-level story map of all the topics and then started moving them till they made a logical sense. These where one word per slide, I then fitted in code examples around these.
I’ll be the first to admit — I am no designer, I used “A white-label slide deck” by Alice Bartlett and Deckset to make my slides. Having slides in markdown really helped me keep them clean and to the point.
Practice, Practice, Practice
I had hoped to give my talk internally as a dry run but that never really worked out, so instead, I recorded the talk. The main reasons I did this was to work out timing, try and correct any ticks, learn the running order, add any reminder notes and allow me to re-work any content that didn’t flow.
My first run through was around 24 mins, what struck me most about watching the video was a number of times I said “um” and “like” this was largely at the start until I got into a natural rhythm, the second time I practiced I made an effort, not to do this.
I slowed myself down and giving myself more space to breathe. I also moved around a few of the sections to give the overall presentation a better flow.
Before the talk I was nervous but also excited, I took great satisfaction in being able to give it. The advice I got form some friends and the practice helped me deal with a lot of the nerves. I also think sometimes I need to push myself outside of my comfort zone.
One the way home I weighed up some good points and bad points. Most of them were to do with timing and the depth that I went into certain parts of the talk for example — test driven development, acceptance testing. These could really be their own talks.