Ep 85: Sound Effects and Overdramatics

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.

You can find Claire on twitter and she writes for Ministry of Testing.

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

Tickets are still available!

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
  • Workshop

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 ?
    • Notes
  • 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)

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