I’ve finally done it! I’ve spoken at a conference and it’s actually been very liberating.
It all started quite a few months ago. I went to one of the Web Meet Guildford events hosted by my previous employer Kyan. I was chatting with Laurent Maguire and he explained to me that Kyan were thinking about hosting a web conference in Guildford called Web Expo Guildford. He suggested that I should speak. I’d drank a couple of pints of Hogs Back Brewery Ale by then and my inner-self spoke to me:
“Say Yes. Step out of your comfort zone.”
So I agreed. Not really realising quite what I had agreed to. A couple of days later I got an email from Kyan’s Paul Banwell, confirming my inclusion. When I realised the venue was going to be the posh newly built G Live center and not some ropey old pub, my heart started to race. I had started to take the road towards conference speaking and in my mind there was no turning back.
I decided to talk about something I was very comfortable with. Illustration in User Interface. I’ve spoken in public a few times before, at friends weddings and family funerals etc., but this was something else. I share an office with Jon Hicks who has quite a bit of speaking experience, so I was glad to have him on hand to offer me a few tips. I hate writing scripts and hate reading from them, especially when nervous in public. So I decided to ‘wing it’ and just talk from the top of my head using the slides to define my structure and give myself prompts.
I used Keynote app for the first time to put my slides together and actually really enjoyed using it. I started writing notes or ideas that came to mind using IA Writer. Both apps syncing nicely with iCloud. I hunted around for lost sketches and old visuals and put together a concise personal workflow. I didn’t rehearse the talk and I had no idea how long it would be. 15 or 45 mins was a rough guess.
The day of the conference arrived and I was quite excited rather then nervous and as I started to talk I did start to feel nervous, but those nerves soon went. I was conscious that I was going to over-run about half way through, so I sped up a little in the second half which wasn’t great. After I had finished I felt relieved that it had gone okay, but that I could have sounded more assertive, louder and perhaps focused a little more on a smaller concept or idea. I had lots of really good positive comments afterwards, which was really encouraging and perhaps, maybe I’ll do it again.
You can view my slides at https://speakerdeck.com/u/supereight/p/illustrating-user-interface and all the talks were filmed, so they will pop up online somewhere soon.
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