At the time that I was writing this blog post, I just started to realise that I’m no longer considered a “newcomer” speaker. On June 2nd, 2022, I delivered my first session at DataGrillen. Which is a wonderful event hosted by William Durkin (Twitter) and Ben Weissman(Twitter).
Before the event
Before I mention how I experienced the event, I would like to go back to January 2022. Around that time, my preparation started. Yes, I’m not kidding, it took me 5 months to be able to deliver my first session. Luckily I had an amazing mentor: Rob Sewell (Twitter) who guided me through the process.
Overall we had a call every 2 weeks in January, February, March & April and then we intensified to weekly calls to have enough time to practice properly. During these calls, we first focussed on the content and the story and as soon as that portion was handled properly, we started to focus on presenting and everything else (what to do in the week before, the day before, the day itself, an hour before etc).
During these meetings, I had the pleasure to learn from someone with so much passion and experience that motivated me to give everything I got.
At the event, before the session
Since my session was scheduled in the afternoon (3:45 PM) on day 1, I was able to attend several sessions in the morning. Although, it already became clear quite fast that I was not able to give my full attention to the sessions I was attending. Since I was continuously going through my presentation in my mind.
After lunch (2 hours before my presentation), I went to the speaker room to get everything set up properly for the start of my presentation. So opening up my presentation and launching the required applications for the demos, took time to relax and walk through a couple of things.
After I had prepared everything I could, I attended the session that was scheduled before mine in that room. This allowed me to move my thoughts away from the fact that I was up next.
I kicked off my session at 3:45 PM, during the first 10 minutes I was rushing and talking way too fast due to the nerves and excitement. As soon as I looked at my mentor, he luckily was pointing out subtly that I needed to slow down.
As soon as I started to slow down consciously and continued my presentation, I started to enjoy the moment. As soon as I reached the 25-minute mark, the first part of the presentation was done, a milestone was achieved. From this point, I was going to deliver a 30-minute demo. During the demo, I was feeling great. When I went back to my final slides after successfully delivering the demo, I felt awesome.
As soon as I finished my last slide, I realized that I successfully finished my first presentation.
After the session/event
After the session, I felt relieved and excited at the same time. I received nice feedback immediately after my presentation. I’m very happy that I took the step to start presenting. For me, this was a big step to take, in the past I mainly worked behind the scenes.
Day 1 was closed off by a fantastic barbecue presented by the wonderful sponsors of DataGrillen. During the barbecue, I took the time to have a chat with a lot of other speakers and attendees.
On day 2 of the event, I followed a couple of sessions and watched these with full attention and I was able to catch a couple of ideas.
A couple of days after the event, I received the session feedback, which was awesome to read, probably because this showed that my session was well received by the audience and the real comments which I received were things that can improve my session.
DataGrillen was as awesome as always, even with additional rules for COVID safety, Ben and William once more managed to deliver a wonderful event. Hopefully, I will be able to join next edition either as Speaker, Volunteer or attendee.
Looking forward to what the future will bring. I will definitely be looking for more speaking opportunities and start building a new session as well.