I’m not a public speaker. I don’t mind it too much if it is a small group, and especially of people I know, but suggest that I stand up in front of a room of strangers and talk about something and my first reaction is to run away. Somehow I was persuaded to offer a joint session with Chris Kernaghan at SAP Inside Track Manchester 2013, and then in an uncharacteristic rush of bravery I offered a second solo session. Come the day of the event, and particularly the minutes leading up to my sessions, I think I did a reasonable job of looking calm on the outside but that was just on the outside. Technical hassles with network connections didn’t help my state of mind.
I needn’t have worried, though. Both sessions went well, and the main reason for that was the audience. Everyone there was really engaged with the topics and most sessions, mine included, felt less like presentations and more like conversations. It wasn’t me telling people stuff, but all of us exploring and learning together. I’ve only been to this one Inside Track so far, but I’m told they all have the same feel. If you’ve ever thought of giving speaking a try then I’d say an Inside Track is a great place to start. They have an informal feel and a helpful and supportive audience. My one helpful hint is to allow time for that conversation to happen. I had a 45 minute slot and had maybe 35 minutes of material. I ran out of time and had to cut some stuff from the end.
Even if you don’t want to speak, Inside Track events are fantastic events to attend. Find your nearest one and plan to get along to it. They’re listed on the SAP Inside Track space.