Ep 94: Sound Effects and Overdramatics: The retrospective

This week the Testbash MCR crew is back! Claire, Matt, and I discuss post Testbash feels: how we felt we did, what we’d do differently next time, and our plans for the future.

We also talk about Softeare Testing Clinic Manchester! Claire is running it with Richard Bradshaw, and Matt and I will be mentors! If you’re in the area, come join us! The first meeting is Monday 8th January

ALSO: Come ask me questions for the 100th episode! You can ask me via email, twitter, slack, in person, or at my curiouscat account.

Claire and I wrote about our prep for the club: https://club.ministryoftesting.com/t/preparing-to-give-a-talk-as-a-new-speaker/11476/5

Matt notes

Awesome things

  • The tasks I designed to generate discussion paid off
  • Good balance of timing
  • Self-hosting the application and removing most of the tech issues getting setup was a good move
  • Application was destroyed near the end!

Lessons learnt

  • I was going to make a text based adventure game with an API interface as
  • I really wanted to make something really fun like Richard Bradshaw’s
  • Lego Automation.I went with a much simpler “game” that better fit a typical API behaviour and I think this paid off.
  • Lights! When to prepare and when to just ask
  • Having backups – practicing backup procedure
  • Wording can always be tweaked
  • 30 people/large room might not be so good for this particular workshop
  • Felt discussions were harder to generate on the spot with 30 people

Would I do it again?

  • Hell yes, I can definitely repeat this workshop.
  • The work paid off but it was a lot of work, I enjoyed designing it and it was very satisfying to see the ideas I’d come up with actually work the way I’d hoped.
  • Plenty of requests for more advanced versions.
  • I just wanted to have a go at a technical workshop as there were topics I’d like to talk about but they don’t fit in a presentation style and I prefer mentoring.

Would I recommend it? Tips?

  • If you want to share knowledge about more technical subjects, absolutely!
  • Even for softer skills workshops can be far more engaging and memorable.
  • Mostly the same tips and advice as for talks/presentations, but the big differences being its longer and more interactive!
  • Consider the balance of teaching versus mentoring
  • Be ready to spend a lot longer preparing it and practicing it!

Claire Notes

What was good?

  • I felt like I was well prepared. I’d done a bunch of practice at home as well as doing a dry run of the talk at another event.
  • Once I got going I felt much less nervous than I thought I would, finding familiar faces in the audience really helped. I felt like i was looking round the room and not down at the floor or just at one person
  • I made a couple of jokes and people laughed! Which I think helped me feel more confident.
  • I could see some of the audience nodding when I was talking. Made me feel like what I was saying resonated with at least some people
  • People liked some of the slides – the Venn diagram I stole borrowed
    I skipped out the talk just before mine, which i was good about but having a bit of quiet time really helped
  • Loads of people chatted to me afterward about their own similar feelings
  • My colleagues who were there didn’t think I was a lunatic

What could have been better?

  • I’m not the strongest at slides. Think i need to practice this and get better at it
  • I tripped over my words a few times
  • Because i was on quite late in the day I had got myself pretty worked up by the time i went on.
  • I felt I didn’t spend as long on some of the slides as I should have. Possibly rushed a bit, even though i ended up finishing in time for questions

Would I do it again?

  • Definitely!! I can see how people get the speaking bug
  • Thinking of ideas for new talks is tricky !!

Gem notes


  • Felt prepared
  • Had people in the audience that were smiling and nodding and who I knew wanted me to succeed
  • Not the only Hamilton reference!
  • Great feedback
  • I didn’t trip over my own feet!

Lessons Learned

  • Prepare for questions
  • Escape afterwards for a bit – overwhelmed a bit by the adrenaline rush + emotional feedback

Would I do it again?

  • Absolutely!

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