My first time on stage, feelings and lessons

Public speaking is both intimidating and exciting in the same time, I would like to share with you in this quick post my experience being on the stage for the first time at an in-person big conference with more than 600 spectators in React live conference in Amsterdam

Theatre Amsterdam

Iโ€™m used to create content online ๐Ÿ”— but this is a totally different experience, I was planning to do public speaking since 2019 but COVID hits and now is the time to push myself again to do it, I created a CFP and it was accepted by the conf organizers, what makes me so happy and stated the fact that I will be on the stage for the first in-person conference held in Amsterdam after 2 years of COVID lock-down ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

The event is called React live ๐Ÿ”— which was planned for April, 1st 2022, and as usual the venue is the beautiful Theater Amsterdam ๐Ÿ”—, a great hall with good back stage, fits for about 1200 persons, with a huge screen, and very nice served food (I attended a conference there before)

Preparations ๐Ÿ“š

Preparing for the talk takes a bit long time but practicing took even longer, my talk was a performance talk with title โ€œCheap Performance Winsโ€ talking about how can you enhance the performance of an application with a very cheap changes, It is a deep topic and needed a good preparation, I would like to talk about the preparation of a tech talk in general but maybe in a different post, I struggled to find the right framework of preparing a nice well-structured tech talk, but somehow found my way

I spent the last week before the conference with almost sleepless nights, that was no good to do but I was trying to squeeze my talk to fit in the 25min limit as much as possible, and was cutting more slides and re-form the story telling.

Moral: I learned that sleeping well before the conf day is essential so you can have less stress, feeling energetic as well is important to let the audience feel the enthusiasm that you feel about the topic

Event day ๐Ÿ“ข

medhat comes next

In the conf day, I went to the venue at 12:00PM, my talk was at 03:15PM so I have enough time to get the feeling of the place and get use to the crowd and the stage for tech checks, people get a lunch break and right after the lunch break was a talk by Micheal Jackson ๐Ÿ”— the creator of Remix ๐Ÿ”— framework, and Iโ€™m supposed to be next

The lunch break was before my talk with half an hour, but I didnโ€™t have any appetite, was worried about the talk and spent the time rehearsing, also decided not to eat anything not to have any digestion issues before being on stage or losing focus by losing blood in my brain in favor to my stomach

I was overwhelmed by the room that was full after a lunch break and a talk about Remix that mostly everyone will attend, but I reminded myself that I prepared very well and decided to just do it, also with some support from my Passionate People colleagues I felt better and more confident

Moral: It is very nice to have people that you know around you who can give you some support and grab your attention not to feel too stressed before stepping on the stage, that helped a lot

On stage time limit (25min) โฑ

Crowds at react live amsterdam

I stepped on the stage and started talking, in the beginning the view was a bit scary, yes it was, given that you have more than 600 people sitting and listening to you very well, and the talk is recorded as well to be published later on Youtube, after a few minutes I felt comfortable doing it

I mumbled a few times finding the right wording as far as I remember while I was on the stage despite I rehearsed a lot but when I watched the recording later on, I realized that I was pushing myself too hard, it was not that noticeable by people who were watching it, even me didnโ€™t notice it that much in the video recording and it made me happy again

I spent 34min in total, I spent ~9min from the next talk unfortunately, I was supposed to make it within the time limit given by the organization, but It went well, people were not bored, and Anurdha ๐Ÿ”— (the next speaker) sacrifices this extra time for me, Thanks Anuradha ๐Ÿ™

Moral: Lesson learned to prepare the talk to be less than the limited time so on the stage you might extend with an anecdote or so.

โ€œGreat talkโ€, they said ๐ŸŽ‰

Medhat finished talk at react live

I finished my talk and was in a hurry to leave as I extended the time limit, was not feeling great as I expected, was worried about the feedback and how people judge the talk and my ability to keep them engaged, but the feedback was magnificent ๐ŸŽ‰

I got tons of complements after finishing the talk, I had also great discussions with the conf visitors and some friends that managed to attend, also my managers and colleagues gives me very nice feedback, overall I was happier with the feedback than when I was on the stage.

Moral: If you are on the stage for the first time public speaking, I think you do need that validation from others, you might also be skeptical about your talkโ€™s quality, but hear me out, you are way better than what you think

Conclusion

Group photo for speakers

It was a great experience and I would like to thank everybody who supported me and helped me to achieve that goal, It was great meeting a lot of the brilliant speakers of that conf, I was happy connecting with them and hope to see them again in other events

Never to ignore the support I got from my wife who spent a very stressful last week before the conf as I was stressed myself, she took care of the children almost alone, kept me focus and supported me as always, it would never happened without her, so thanks Maha โค๏ธ

Also, thanks to Passionate People for believing in me, and supporting me, thanks to my colleagues and friends who attended, sent me a message, or tweeted about my talk, I highly appreciate it, I canโ€™t wait for the next talk on stage with more good content and better preparation

Note: Once the recording is out I will share it here and on my Twitter, make sure that you follow

Tot ziens ๐Ÿ‘‹

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