A Last-Minute Conference Talk

A Last-Minute Conference Talk

It was 11pm when I got the phone call.

“We’ve had a speaker dropout for tomorrow. I know it’s last minute, but would you be up for giving your talk?”

It was the evening before LeadDev London in 2019, and I was being asked if I wanted to stand on stage in front of 1500 people in less than 16 hours.

Years ago I would have been terrified of this.

Years ago I would have said absolutely not.

Years ago I would not have given myself the chance to do something this outside of my comfort zone.

But now?

Sure. I’d be happy to give my talk again.

You see, I had spoken that evening at the LeadDev pre-conference meetup. I had prepared a talk that I was super proud of, where I combined my love of video games with engineering management. It was a talk I was excited about and a topic I wanted to share more widely with more people. I had done that talk that evening in front of 100 people and it had gone well and led to some brilliant conversations and discussions. Why not do it again?

So I said yes.

Despite my nerves, despite my fears, despite the unexpectedness, I knew that if I wanted to share what I knew with more people, I had to say yes.

And so the next day I gave my talk.

And despite my nerves, my fears and the unexpectedness of it all, I loved every minute of standing up there on stage. I loved being able to help people understand something new. I loved seeing those penny-dropping moments in the faces of my audience.

As someone who once was terrified of public speaking, I’m proud of how far I’ve come. I’m proud of how confident and comfortable I am on stage, despite the nerves still running in the back of my mind. I’m proud that I believe in myself now and can trust my own abilities to deliver a talk like that.

Why am I sharing this now? LeadDev London is back tomorrow. And it’s gotten me reminiscing about the last LeadDev London I spoke at.

Where I unexpectedly prepared for a last-minute conference talk.

For those of you who haven’t seen my Level Up talk and want to see how I look like when giving a talk last minute in front of 1500 people, you can find it here:

Are you attending the LeadDev London this week? Leave a comment behind if you are and want to say hi!

Do you need help to get started with speaking? I provide 1:1 coaching sessions and team workshops about brainstorming talk ideas, CFP writing and creating talks. Reach out to me to discuss what you're looking for.