Last month I gave my first ever talk at the CanberraJS Meetup. Overall it was a great experience and real opportunity to grow both personally and professionally. I would recommend it to anyone. Here is how I got into it and a few things I learned along the way.
How it happened
Two weeks later Wei got in touch and asked if I wanted to present at the next meetup - although I was pretty apprehensive having never given a presentation before I figured it was time to break off the shackles of the Dark Matter Developer and challenge myself. Game on!
Preparing a Presentation
Did I mention that the meetup was only two weeks after I had agreed to present? I really threw myself in the deep end. I used every spare scrap of time I had, which wasn't much with other work and family commitments. Here are a few things I found useful:
- Scott Hanselman's blog 11 Top Tips for a Successful Technical Presentation. Anyone who has seen Hanselman talk knows he is an expert on the subject. The key takeaway is to be passionate about the subject of your talk. It shows.
- Practice. Practice - Practice! It's not until you start talking out loud that you will find out if your content makes sense and flows properly. I was lucky enough to do a test run with some colleagues, which I highly recommend. I found that a few jokes fell flat and just scrapped them. Some parts needed more explanation. In the end, you need to be able to give your presentation under any circumstances, so be prepared.
The talk itself
About 30 people RSVP'd to the meetup, although there would have been a few that didn't come, it was still the most well attended CanberraJS meetup to date. At first I was hoping that no one would come so I wouldn't have anything to worry about, but in fact it was much better with lots of people, and I was proud to share my story with as many people as possible.
Well, my talk was quite well received, and a week later I was lucky enough to go to NDC Sydney 2017, where I was inspired to start this blog. It's a lot of fun giving presentations, and hanging out with like minded people at meetups and conferences and I plan to do it some more.
You can't be sure anyone will read your blog or be interested in your presentation, but there are lots of people out there and lots of different meetups. Find something you are passionate about, find some other people who are passionate about it too, and see what happens!