This was very nearly about breaking my promise, in fact I had drafted a blog post full of excuses as to how my year had been miserable and there was no way I could fulfil my promise of February. Then I panicked, ditched the post and emailed the wonderful and supportive Jenny (@miss_jwo) confessing my failure.
A little while later something wonderful happened, I spotted an opportunity and careless of the consequences, grabbed it with both hands. I surprised myself. A few emails later and phpsw user group had kindly accepted my proposal to give a lightening talk. The talk was last Wednesday night. Their warm welcome was a real testament to the friendly community that is a php user group. I am happy to report I felt calmer than I have ever felt in front of 40+ strangers and I am looking forward to doing it again. So much so in fact, I am considering submitting to other user group nights and even conferences!
Along the way I have learned a few great things about speaking:
- it’s really easy to arrange
- it doesn’t have to be a new idea, just your take on it
- audiences come up with the coolest questions (and tips!) to make you think
- turning up early wins you brownie points and more free drinks choices
- practicing your talk to yourself in a spare office the week before is worth it just for the funny looks you get
- lots of user groups are looking for new speakers of any experience level
- you might even get your petrol money back
Most of all I got to keep a promise and that’s worth everything.