Drupalcon Dublin was my forth drupalcon and I always feel very grateful that I'm able to attend, but this year I was given the opportunity to explain why I feel such gratitude to the Drupal community.
In the summer this year Drupalcon Europe announced a new track, being human, and the moment I read the title I knew I had something to offer the community. My Drupal story. It got accepted. This was my second public speaking talk ever. The first was the same talk and quickly cobbled together for Drupalcamp Bristol so I could say I had some speaking experience on the entry form. Being entrusted to talk to so many people was such a wonderful yet scary moment for me, bringing my story home to Drupalcon meant a lot to me.
I went to check the room out as soon as we got to the conference centre and it was tiny, much much cosier than the lecture theatre at Drupalcamp Bristol. It already felt more personal and emotional and I was the only person in the room.
After lunch on Wednesday the room was free for a session before my talk so I took the chance to sit in there and try to relax. My tribe members came with me and slowly they filled the front row, right in front of me. It was nice to laugh and joke with them before the session because I knew for some of them they'd be in tears pretty soon on. *cough* Rachel Lawson *cough*.
It quickly approached two o'clock and the nerves had set in and I wanted to leave and not do the talk, but the friendly faces of the Drupal community walked in and as the room filled to listen to me I knew that even if it went badly they'd still be cheering me along.
So I started talking, I tripped over my words a bit too often and spoke a bit too fast for a European audience, I forgot some places where I should have advanced slide deck but I was doing it and it felt great watching the room listen to me and before I knew it I was at the last slide and the room was emptying out. Some stayed for hugs and private questions or to give feedback which I'm very grateful for.
I really enjoyed my time speaking and I've already had a lot of people thanking me for talking about something a lot of people can't. I'm really happy that Drupalcon are putting more effort into the people behind the code and making it easier for us all to be able to talk openly with each other about ourselves. If it wasn't for the Drupal community I'd not be at Torchbox, because of Drupal my life is very different.
If you'd like to see my talk then you can find it on the drupalcon website and please send me your feedback because I'd love to do more of this.
The constructive feedback I've got so far is:
- They'd like more... I will admit, I did freak out and cut things due to wanting to finish quicker. I need to learn to stop that.
- Practical workshops for meditation. I agree, and I wanted to but I didn't get permission from Headspace in time to use their recordings and I don't think I can lead a meditation myself.
- Speak slower for people who don't speak English as a first language.
- Invite people to look at my list -- also be conscious that the screen is recorded and not me at a Drupalcon.
- Don't apologise for the talk being short! I know this, I've got a problem with saying sorry!
You're a good speaker. It'd be good to hear where you're at in 2, 5, 10 years
Another comment I had which I think may have sparked something inside me was this, from a dear tribe member, who wasn't there but listened to the recording was that I'm a good speaker and I do feel excited for where I could be in 2, 5 or 10 years time. It really is food for thought. Since leaving uni I haven't had to do much presentational speaking and I seem to feel like you need some translation book to understand what I really mean so I've tried to shy away from it. But I'm beginning to realise there could be something in this for me.
I need to practise lots to make sure I know what I'm saying but that's ok. The TED guide to public speaking was a big influence to how I reworded my slides for my talk and completely changed my intro to something more hard hitting and awakening. I feel with more practise, I could get up on that TED stage and give a talk... about something!