Speakeasy Mentorship Programme – My first mentor get together

Picture from summer 2014 taken from Brighton Pier (before my camera was cleaned

In a previous post I shared how I started on the way to do my first talk in front of an unknown audience. 
Since then I joined the speakeasy mentorship programme.
The aim of the programme is to encourage diversity at tech conferences.
After a couple of days wait I received my allocate mentor and it was Huib Schoots! I have seen him speak at many conferences and he has a particular, maybe slightly black and white style.

We had a Skype session that lasted around 40 minutes and I was so impressed that he took all this time to talk to me and give me some hints and tips.
He mentioned that you can choose anything to talk about that you find exciting and are passionate about. Your energy will then carry across the room. Energy can be 50% of your talk.

Beginnings of a talk:

Then we moved onto styles of talk:
1. A very detailed specific talk aimed at teaching the audience something.
2. Inspirational talk – often a personal story
3. Share – maybe just tell a story about something relevant

Huib also pointed out that talks don’t have to be hard. Use the tools you have at your disposal, like the presenter mode on the slides and add notes there.

A personal struggle for me is organising my slides. 2-3 slides for setting context of your talk should be sufficient. It really isn’t that different to writing a structured essay.

While I mentioned slides, reduce the text as much as possible. Some speakers stick to 3 bullet points per slide.

Also a very important point was that you cannot please everyone that comes to your talk. There will always be someone that is not interested or doesn’t like what you are saying.
Interestingly Huib pointed out that testing audiences can be some of the hardest to talk to.
We assume a shared knowledge and vocabulary but often this is not the case.

Be yourself and have fun. 
There is  story in every project. Practice writing these up.
Engage the audience. Ask them questions by show of hands but raise your hand also.

Now comes the difficult part and actual practice. Hub suggested doing short videos and he will also review them which is awesome! 
I will be doing a 99 second talk at test bash this year, so I am going to practice this on video.
I think this is a good way to practice anyway. Small concise and doesn’t take too long.

I really think this programme is great and it is inspiring that people take time out to help us newbies! I do hope to just learn to talk more confidently. I don;t think I will be applying to conferences anytime soon, but want to simply learn another skill.

On the speaking front. We have organised our next Brighton Tester meet up with a talk this time. Details on the meetup page!


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