Jay Paloma's Tech and Music Blog

Sometimes, this writer can no longer distinguish between the two.

Becoming a community speaker – everyone starts somewhere

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It’s really sad that while people are excited whenever community leads announce new events, everyone keeps quiet whenever speaker or demoer volunteers are needed. They say they would rather defer to the “experts” i technology and delivery.

Well, let me say that these “experts” also started somewhere. And we all have our terrifying experiences. Let me share with you mine.

This was during the DevDays Manila in November 1999. I was two months in Microsoft Philippines. The event was at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC). And for those of us too young to know, that same building houses the Office of the Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines. And guess who was VP that time? The lady known for her Presidential temper. That one is another story.

Anyway, I was to demo dev stuff on Windows 2000 (message queueing?). I did my due diligence and prepared like mad. However when you hear your name being called out by the plenary session speaker (yes it was a plenary session with an audience of 1500 or so), all you’ve prepared for goes down the drain. I went in there, did my demo (yes, only demo, no PPT), and my hand is trembling like mad to the point that my mouse clicks don’t hit their mark. My trembling may not be noticeable on my monitor, but projected on a big screen it is very obvious. People noticed, and began laughing. This was were the plenary speaker had to do his thing to maintain contact with the audience and calm me down in the process.

To cut the story short, yes, I was trembling, and yes the audience saw the nervousness, but  pull through. The people called “experts” also started with terrifying stage experiences. We should be frightened onstage, because if not, we won’t be careful and we would not take what we’re doing seriously!

So, if your community lead comes knocking at your door to assist as a speaker or demoer, GRAB THE OPPORTUNITY, since at least one would be speaking in a small community event. You mess up, what could go wrong? You won’t get fired, right? The fact that you became a speaker may reflect on your CV, but your mess-up won’t. Anyway, at least participate in the smaller events to gain confidence little by little and prepare you for the bigger events.

This is not work, you are a volunteer, and as such your community leads only ask for your participation. They would not ask for perfection.

On the side note re: the VP? Well to add to the tension, we were at the receiving end of the Vice Presidential temper due to the noise. It was an experience!

CALL TO ACTION: PHIWUG is building up its speaker pool. Do help out, and use the experience and connections. Yes, PHIWUG can actually help you get better at your technical career!

Speakers of DevDays 1999 Manila

I had a terrifying experience onstage while being a demoer during DevDays 1999 Manila

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Written by jpaloma

January 12, 2014 at 9:17 PM

2 Responses

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  1. I’d like to be one. 😀

    James Rey A. Cortes

    December 14, 2015 at 1:05 AM

    • You don’t need to wait for the next event. My advice to you that you could do right now is to create your techblog to write about solutions that you encountered in the course of doing your work. Post the links in the PHIWUG FB site, and the PHIWUG leadership will one day contact you for your help if the topic is relevant to Microsoft’s strategies.

      Relevant Microsoft topics? Azure. Go for that!

      jpaloma

      December 14, 2015 at 8:39 AM


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