Speaking at Net/Work

me standing in front of my slides pre-talk
Totally trying to act cool and not nervous before my talk. Photo credit: Corinne Warnshuis

This past week I had the opportunity to lead a dev talk at the Technical.ly Philly job fair, Net/Work. I was invited to speak on behalf of Girl Develop It Philly and am so glad I did it. My presentation was a basic intro about web accessibility and making websites that are usable by everyone. I’ll be teaching a longer format, more hands on workshop for GDI at the end of March. In the past I’ve always been pretty scared of public speaking but it’s a fear I’m trying to conquer and something I’m hoping to focus on and do a lot more of in the upcoming year.

I have some pretty awesome friends who sat through the talk with me and provided me with a ton of helpful feedback. If you share the same feelings about public speaking as me, I can’t put enough emphasis on how much practicing it a few times helps and makes it so much easier to get up in front of the crowd. Once you go over it so many times you’re basically just getting up and talking about something you’re super familiar with. It becomes more of a conversation and less of a formal talk where you’re relying on notes to get you through. I started by presenting to my dog and cat, no joke, they slept through most of it. Just saying the presentation out loud to an empty room was super helpful. Hearing it, instead of reading it made me realize certain things didn’t make sense in the spot they were in, or at all.

me in the middle of my talk.
Looking super cool mid-sentence. Photo credit: Corinne Warnshuis

Moving up from presenting to my pets, I ran through the talk in front of 3 friends, which is almost more awkward that presenting to a larger group. I got a lot of great feedback from them and changed some more things around. Finally, I met one-on-one with one of these friends a final time and we went through the whole presentation slide-by-slide and then I ran through it one more time. In the end I was still a little nervous and I skipped some things I didn’t mean to, but overall I was really happy with the way it turned out. I had some people come up to me afterwards to tell me they enjoyed it an learned something from it and that made all of the work I put into it worthwhile. My slides from the talk can be found here. I think I’m going to break down some of the things I went over into some longer posts so be sure to check back for that. Hopefully I’ll be able to update throughout the year with some more talks I’ll be leading. I took the step of making a Lanyard account and am committing to putting myself out there more. It gets easier and easier every time.

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