Lessons Learned from My First Speaking Experience

A 3 minute read, Posted on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 In Speaking
Tags xamarin, xamarin forms, tips, speaking, stldodn

First off, speaking is a rush. It is hard to describe the feeling just after completing a talk. I had to move around, talk to people, see what was going on; it really energized me. I am definitely going to continue to pursue future speaking opportunities as they present themselves, and I’ll keep you posted when they get accepted.


As I mentioned in previous posts, my first talk was on Xamarin Forms, a new technology in a toolset that we are using at Alien Arc, but that is still new to us. This presented several challenges (and advantages), I was not only learning it as a speaking topic, but as a production need. This was a challenge in that it limited my time to come up with contrived examples, but and advantage because I was trying to write a real application with it and had to figure out real roadblocks, which gave me great ideas on what to cover.

Here are some of the lessons I learned and will be applying to my next talk:

  1. Do not to have too much to say. I had several slides of information I thought was important to share (and a lot of it was) but I could have skimmed over some of it and I wish I had. I ended up with very little time to actually do any demo code at the end of my one hour session (wow! an hour goes fast!).
  2. Also up there on the list is practice, practice, practice.. hard to do when you are finishing your demos the day before.. but one run through with code would have let me know that I needed to trim down the intro.
  3. For me, speaking to an audience takes longer than when you practice. I had gone over the talk (minus the code) with Brent and had just under 30 minutes of material. Yet somehow when I presented it I was talking for almost 45! Yikes! I didn’t talk slower or stumble, I just somehow found more to say.
  4. Live coding (in any form) takes longer than you think. I know you are just adding a class, a XAML page, and editing a couple other lines, but that is 10 minutes, not 2! I felt like I had way too little code, yet I would had probably just the right amount, or maybe too much, if my slides had been closer to 25 minutes. As it was I barely got one demo done, and even though I tried to get there quicker the second time I didn’t get to do anything but show my finished code on the second demo.

These are just some of the things I learned. Another thing to consider is review and critique yourself. We brought a GoPro with us and recorded one of my sessions solely for the purpose of reviewing the talk. I plan to go back and watch it to see what my audience saw, figure out my speaking ticks, and see what I can improve.

comments powered by Disqus