October 2017 was busy - I presented at two different meetups with two completely different talks. There was the usual stress related in preparing for a talk, the buzz of doing it and the relief after when they were all finished. In this post there are videos to the talks, links to related articles and a few words on how I got and prepped for the talks.
People, Processes and ADRs
A month of so back I saw a request for talks at the REACT meetup. I've only been once as it's super hard to get tickets so thought this would be a way to guarantee entry. I messaged the organisers with some broad ideas about a talk and after a short back and forth had to come up with a title. The topics for the talk had been washing around in my head for a while but having to make a quick decision was really helpful. The meetup is at the Facebook offices and the AV setup there was fantastic. The talk went well and got good feedback especially on the last topic of ADRs. What are those I hear you cry? Well, checkout the video here:
In the talk I reference various people and their talks - links to those presentations here:
- Meri's talk at scotland php - Creating Space to be Awesome
- Jane's talk at mind the product - Great design for Great Digital Products
- Talk by vairous MOOsters - Applying User Research In Technical Teams
There's a progressive web app for that
Talk I did at JS Roundabout. I'd breifly discussed presenting a while back but didn't have a talk to mind. It was only until recently when I built a small side project and presented it internally at MOO that I actually got back to the organisers (my friend Sam) about speaking. It was very serendipidous as they needed a speaker for their next event in a couple of days. I rushed around tidying things up and making them fit with the topic. The event was at skyskanner's awesome new offices, there was a good crowd and really enjoyed the atmosphere. Here's the talk:
Accompanying previous blog post about building a pwa
Prepping a talk
Both talks came about through friends and conncetions as well as being on various lists and, most importantly, putting myself forward for them. If you're thinking about doing a talk go for it - you need to put yourself forward though - these things don't just happen.
My preparation for these talks (and almost all others I do) consists of writing nothing down initially but playing with ideas in my head. I live about 1h 20min walk from work - when prepping for a talk I make sure I have enough time in the mornings to walk in. Being outside and wandering through London really helps me think and allows me to flesh out the idea for the talk, whilst occasionally practicing it out loud as I go. Once i've got the start and first few sections sorted I'll put those down on some slides and repeat the process. Practice is important and I practice lots. Also I find that as I've started the talk in my head it's easier to talk on the day without notes and to sound more natural. Also I practice. Again and again. And again. And again. It's really weird but I've found the more I practice the better the talk goes and the happier I am before during and after.
Was happy with both talks - people are giving up their evenings to come and hear what I have to say but also to be entertained. I make sure there are some lightheard neutral jokes as well as some interesting ideas and topics. Got some great discussions with attendees after at both events.
If you're thinking about doing a talk more than happy to offer tips and advice. You can find contact details here