Writer and Programmer

speaking

webtalk

On Tuesday 4th I gave a talk on the People’s Stage at the Dublin Web Summit. ‘The Dos and Don’ts of Consulting’ was my theme. After nearly twenty years at the coal face, I figure I qualify as an expert.

I had great fun.

Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking, it was brilliant to give it a bash in a safe environment. The People’s Stages are small and frequented mostly by passers-by, who avail of the free chairs while they plan their day.

I expected most of my audience to be either distracted or half asleep. If I huddled over the podium, muttering into my notes, they wouldn’t even notice me. I knew I could do better. I’ve been lucky enough to attend talks by many of the greats – Joel Spolsky, Herb Sutter, Cindy Gallop.

Channelling ‘great-speakers-I-have-seen’, I created short, one-or-two-word slides with lots of pictures. Then I memorised my talk so that I could fix attendees with a beady eye.

It was a real triumph. By the end of my allocated seven minutes, most of those sitting in front of me were looking up and giving me their attention. A couple of the volunteers laughed at some of my jokes, and the sound engineer said in astonished tones as I left the stage “That was really good!”

I presented the talk largely to gain public-speaking experience and made it as humorous and light-hearted as possible. To my surprise , a college student approached me afterwards and said he’d learned a lot from it. “No waffle, just practical advice,” he said.

Having always been a big fan of practical advice, I decided to write some of it up. So watch this space.

Ita Ryan

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