I was asked to give a talk at an upcoming DevOps event, so I’m in the first stages of planning what I’m going to present.
I’ve never given a talk like this before, but I’ve done plenty of presentations to engineering teams of things I’ve built and how they work and where to find the documentation. I imagine this will be much the same- but to a bunch of strangers, instead of people I’ve worked with for months.
I’m okay with public speaking, my brothers and I grew up doing public performances for various church events, singing, dancing, choirs, church band, church plays etc. So that aspect of it doesn’t concern me much.
What does occupy my mind when asked to take people’s attention and time is providing value.
I’m a bit of a stickler for wasting time- I’m okay with wasting my own time (that’s on me), and people can do what they want with theirs, that’s their business. But if you’re going to use my time, or I use yours- I would really, really prefer if we both respect each other enough to not waste each others time.
If it can be done via email, email it. If these people don’t need to be in this meeting, please leave them alone to get on with their work etc.
And so it is with giving a talk- at least for me. I don’t want to waste peoples time who are going to sit there and listen to me go on for an hour and not get some value from it.
I’m pretty sure I get this from my mum- if you’re going to be in the frame, provide value.
It was actually something my manager said at one of our cafe 1 on 1’s that helped me re-think the value proposition of my planned tech talks this year.
I had told him I was looking to do some talks this year and, being in Security now, asked him what security conferences were coming up. He shared with me that he thinks a Security talk would actually be of more value at a non-Security conference!
Because- and stick with me if you also work in IT cos this is going to be some radical new thinking here (/s**)- Security is, and should be, part of Engineering, and Security pro’s should be presenting at Developer spaces to educate and help out our Engineering team mates with how to make environments, applications and infrastructure more secure.
And so the first foray into writing a tech talk begins, knowing my audience, knowing my value proposition and having a few years of battle-scarred experience to dive into for some funny how-not-to-do-it stories to share.
On that note, the last thing that comes to mind as I go off on this talk planning adventure is- “I wonder how many Samoan presenters these guys have seen giving a talk on Cloud Infrastructure, Kubernetes and Container Security before?”.
Probably not many (if any), and that’s a big part of why I want to go out this year and do these talks.
So you can see us.
Thanks for reading, see you in the next one!
** : the ‘
/s’ stands for “sarcasm”, and when written like this, means the sentence before and up to this, is meant to be read in a sarcastic way.