Sunday, July 1, 2012

Public speaking mid-year score card

Can you believe it's July already? I started the year with a resolution to be a public speaker, with the specific goal of giving 5 lightning talks and 3 full-length lectures. Let's see the mid-year score card!

Lightning talks

  1. April 2, 2012: Ignite Where 2012, San Francisco, CA
  2. June 28, 2012: Ignite Google I/O, San Francisco, CA

Full-length lectures

  1. April 6, 2012: Fluid Android Layouts, WindyCityGo, Chicago, IL
  2. April 11, 2012: Caching Strategies for Mobile Apps, Philly ETE, Philadelphia, PA
  3. April 17, 2012: Mobile Caching Strategies, Twitter Engineering Submit, San Francisco, CA
  4. May 16, 2012: Reusable Custom Components, AnDevCon III, Burlingame, CA
  5. June 8, 2012: Progressive enhancement for Android web apps, Dutch Mobile Conference, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Looks like I'm coming short on the lightning talk side, which is quite surprising. I thought it would be more difficult to get accepted to give lectures. Also interesting that all my lightning talks were in Ignite talks, which is way more challenging than the speak-at-a-meetup quick talks I had in mind when I came up with the goals.

Ignite at Google I/O

Ignite talks are challenging because it follows a very specific format: 5 minutes, 20 slides, auto advancing. The auto-advancing slides is the trickiest bit, since you don't control the rhythm any more. I rehearse way more for Ignite than my full-length lectures, because I need to internalize the timing to sync my speech to my slides. It's almost like lip-syncing!

The first time I gave an Ignite talk was at Where 2012, to a crowd of 30 people or so. I was rather scared of the auto-advancing slides, but I found that I just need to wait until the next slide to appear before transitioning to a new topic.

Ironically, because I felt I did pretty well at my first Ignite, I was more nervous when preparing for my second one. I kept thinking that it was not quite as good. I mentioned that to my friend Julia, and did a practice run with her. She loved it! I notice that I really feed off the energy from the audience, even if only one person was listening. So the practice run was all I need to get back my confidence.

Ah, confidence is such a fragile thing. I walked into the room, and wow, it's big! It probably seats a thousand people. A thousand people! Plus the event was live streamed. I never spoke to such a large crowd, and I was so ridiculously nervous while waiting for the show to start. Fortunately once I got on stage I was back to my elements.

Here is the recording of the Ignite show at Google I/O. Let me know what you think!

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