On Wednesday (19th February 2020) I spoke to the WordPress community about my love of documentation and where it came from. This was my second talk based around the same kind of subject as I previously spoke about but this time with a slant towards GDPR policies.
The slides really provided a cue for me. although I defiantly need a bit more practice it speaking to groups, as this time I got increasingly nervous as I spoke, but thankfully they are a very forgiving group.
The thing about doing this type of talk is that you will almost always find your community are supportive, and as far as I am concerned everyone apart from the very experienced speaker feels imposter syndrome before they speak. Not helped by having to state your disclaimer statement before you start, in my case, this is ‘I am not a lawyer or legal professional’.
Speaking for me is the hardest bit, in many ways what I look forward too are the questions I will often get at the end of whatever I have presented. I will always get questions when broaching subjects like GDPR because people are scared of it, developers have to deal with clients who are scared of it and users have to learn about it. Every business be it a freelancer, sole trader, company, charity or even un-corporated organisation needs to understand their responsibilities.
One of the reasons I choose to speak at events and conferences is to get over the imposter syndrome I feel. I care about passing on accurate information, I always learn as much as I put into my talks.
One of the obvious things that you come across when doing a talk is that having the attitude ‘I can be bothered to find out this information’ is something people value. People seem surprised that I have read the Data Protection Act 2018 several times, in fact, I count it as everyday reading now along with the ICO website, I can’t remember it all :).
I have never understood the advice ‘imagine your audience naked’, apart from being either terrifying or possibly arousing neither of these would help me speak to a crowd of people.
I want to learn from it
I tend to think along the lines of ‘I put myself in this situation, I want to learn from it’. Even learning to be a bit more mindful of who I am has helped. I need notes, I need to be prepared, this includes practising either on my own or with friends, showing people I trust my slide deck.
Asking for honest constructive criticism from friends helped me with my presentation skills. Speaking of which I will thank Rachel Morgan-Trimmer he for the help with the slide deck.
So yes practice is key to me, although I did not allow myself much time, another lesson learned. One other reason I challenge myself to speak in front of people is that I have to do it more often for work. Being confident speaking to clients is important especially because they are often looking to me to either solve fairly complex problems or to alleviate worries they have about their business or website.
Plus it is good to challenge yourself from time to time.
It is good to know that I can do things like this from time to time, and I get to contribute to one of the many communities I care about. I look forward to more opportunities like this. Maybe I will try a bigger crowd at a WordCamp or something similar in the coming year.
Maybe you have an event you would like me to speak at, get in contact with me.