In Romania there’s this saying, “You will never forget your first love”…and my first conference, I may add now, after attending Dutch Testing Conference 2014.
I remember it was during lunch when I got the email of acceptance at the event. It was a real joy and a lot of enthusiasm, as I promised myself I will pursue more conferences as a speaker in the next years. Everything went well during the preparation. I’ve started reading “Presentation Zen” to know how to define the slides, I’ve attended Khastalia workshop on public speaking which was really really, really helpful, and last but not least, send presentation and do a short walk through with Huib Schoots from which I’ve received valuable feedback and additional points to consider.
I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t know much about the audience, nothing about the location and nothing about room set-up. is it a stage? a theater setup? class room? I was terrified by the fact that I was about to present on a stage in front of a large crowd.
Everything came back to normal in the morning’s event, when I read the program and visited the room I was about to talk. Fortunately for me it was a class room set-up, so no stage, no lights, no microphone, no scary stuff. Suddenly I started to feel more comfortable.
The breaks between session were very short, only 5 minutes, so I had to skip the last part of Huib’s presentation in order to be in time for mine. I started to replay the speech in mind and suddenly I relaxed, realizing I’m going to have a discussion, not a speech, everyone is familiar with the topic, so I won’t have to put too much effort in introducing people to the context.
During presentation, I tried and hopefully succeeded to put in practice everything I was taught to do during a presentation:
- Start with personal story – checked
- Focus on the audience – checked
- Keep them connected to your story – checked
- Dont sit behind the table – checked
- engage people into the conversation – checked
- Be on time – – checked
The Q&A session was great as people started to ask all sort of questions trying to see if the presented approach will fit their context and if there are any other steps to make it work. I was even asked to provide feedback in the next days for a similar approach, for a different company, which made me feel confident that the message was clearly understood.
Looking back, it was a great experience, I felt good and I will definitely do it again. I would like to thank Huib Schoots for helping me with my slides and my speech, colleagues who found the time to review my talk and I would like to thank René Tuinhout, which I first met 2 hours before my session, for attending it (having familiar faces in the room is always a good thing).
I’ll see you all at Nordic Testing Days!