I've been attending .Net Oxford for a few years now. It's usually a good opportunity to jump on the train down to Oxford, meet one of my best friends for dinner and a pint and then attend a meetup. I really enjoy going and when the pandemic happened and it went online I continued to attend. After a virtual pub session (the hang out after the event) for one of the summer events the conversation turned to unit testing and I starting geeking out about AutoFixture. To my surprise hardly anyone had heard of the library. There was general interest in what it was and when the call for Lightning Talk presenters came around I was asked if I'd be interested in doing one on AutoFixture.
Having never presented before but always played with the idea I thought I would give it a go. It was only 15 mins so what could possibly go wrong?
Thoughts and Preparation
It was an interesting mix of emotions with regards to the presentation. The lead up to the talk had not been the best from a personal perspective and at one point it was touch and go whether I was going to do it or not. My wife encouraged me to go through with it as it was something different and wasn't that long a talk. The preparation for my wedding speech was a few notes on a post-it and that went pretty well so she said I'd be fine.
I started putting together what I thought I wanted to talk about. I had decided as it was my first time I would try and just do slides to reduce the issue with switching between PowerPoint and code. I went straight into putting items into slides in PowerPoint and playing around with some code samples in VisualStudio however found it quite hard going. I found that Scott Hanselman had done a course on Pluralsight a number of years ago around public speaking so decided to watch that. It was really interesting to see the process and it helped with suggestions around how to struture a talk. It was also interesting to see how someone worked with PowerPoint. Having never done too much with it just seeing different techniques was interesting enough.
I then started noting down ideas and started structing my thoughts in notepad. Once I'd got an idea of the flow I then translated it to PointPoint slides. One thing I wanted to make sure of was not just reading from the slides. The content had to be from the presentation and not purely the slides.
15 mins is not a long time to talk and I wanted to show a number of ideas and topics on the subject matter. As it was a lightning talk I wanted it to have a wide coverage but it would be thin. There wasn't enough time to go into depth on anyone item but needed to base the foundation of "the story" to allow for moving into the more complex scenarios towards the end of the talk.
As I knew it was being recorded I also wanted to not just be a voice talking over the slides so I had a brief play with OBS and managed to get the view of myself from my webcam to be in the lower right hand corner and the presentation to be the rest of the "virtual web cam". Not overly happy I couldn't get it to be in presentation mode in this setup so couldn't see what was coming next and my notes. This I need to work on.
I wasn't feeling too great when I did the presentation but I don't think that shows. I was pretty nervous but as I got into the swing of it the feeling eased a bit. I was trying really hard to not stutter too much or use the word "um". I wouldn't have the opportunity to edit those out and wanted the talk to come across as cleanly as possible.
I also didn't want to rush. Sometimes you can watch presentations and due to nerves etc. the presenters talk really fast and I wanted to make sure I was not rushing and clear.
It was also nice to see that it sparked a number of conversations in the Zoom chat after the talk and further follow up discussions in the .Net Oxford slack channels which was cool. I think I will try and do a couple of blog posts to answer some of the questions which were raised. If a few people are asking the questions then I'd imagine there are number more out there asking the same questions.
And finally the video
Would I do it again? Yes, I think I would. I'm not in any hurry to sign up to anything though at the moment. This year has been tough on many fronts and I think I need to chill for the rest of the year and recover ready for 2021.
I hope you found the video interesting. Any feedback, good or bad, please contact me on Twitter @WestDiscGolf.