This week is the Manchester Testbash crew!
Matt, Claire, and I talk about out experiences of putting our first successful conference submissions together and how we’re preparing. We’re planning on doing a part two post Testbash to reflect on the days themselves.
First, what we’re doing at Testbash:
Matt is giving a workshop(!) on APIs for beginners
Claire is giving a talk about her personal experience with imposter syndrome
I’m giving a talk on mental health and anxiety in testing
Step one: Submission
Where can I start to gain confidence and experience before submitting?
- Write blogs but don’t publish them
- Take something you’ve read/watched/heard and create a small talk to a couple of people at work that you feel comfortable presenting to
- Lightning talks/90 second talks
- Attend meetups and just talk to other people – you will have something to share and you will be surprised at how different your experience can be.
- Build up to bigger talks – present a talk to more of your company, or a local meetup (plenty of meetups that encourage new speakers).
- If you get the opportunity – go to a peer conference
- Outside encouragement – people will cheerlead you if you want to get into public speaking
What to submit
- Technical talks
- Overcoming a challenge / solving a problem
- Personal experience report
Where to submit
- Consider whether you will have to pay to speak
- MoT Open CFP
- Other conferences which have a deadline for submissions
- Smaller events like Leeds Testing Atelier
- At home or abroad ?
- Will your employer allow you to attend or will you need to book time off ?
- Do you know anyone who has spoken at an event you are interested in ?
- What was their experience like?
- Can you submit the same talk to multiple conferences ?
How to put a submission together
- What do I want to say
- Why do I want to say it
- What will other people get out of listening to me
Step two: oh god, what have I done (putting the talk/workshop together)
- Scripted talk or more free-form ?
- Avoid slides that you just read out
- Using keywords or images as prompts
Step three: Practice AKA the countdown
- Talk through it yourself – friends / family etc
- What reads well on paper isn’t always very easy to say. Better to compromise your language so that it flows more naturally than tripping over pronunciations.
- Practice at smaller events / internal company audience
- Resources if you are new to speaking (i.e.: James Whittaker videos: one, two)