The Conference Audience

“If you’ve not got anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all”

A phrase I’m sure many people could say they’ve heard from a parental voice at a young age. I’m sure it was possibly something Basil Fawlty would’ve said during “The Kipper And The Corpse” too.

In 2014, I was overjoyed to have been able to speak at various meetups and some conferences too.

Unbeknownst to anyone that follows me on the twitters but hasn’t spent time with me in real life. I can am not really the ‘social butterfly’ I am when sending a beautifully crafted subtweet behind a 13" Retina MacBook screen.

I’m quite the introvert, I can spend most of the working day without any conversation. I don’t mind that. Part of the reason I wanted to talk was to try and ‘break out’ of being a shell of my online self. I used to play guitar in a band when I was growing up. I played ‘lead’ but I didn’t have the persona of a lead guitarist. Often at gigs I’d have my back to the audience. Only listening to my guitar and the snare drum through an monitoring system that was available. To be honest. I’m not a fan of being ‘in the limelight’ in reality. The barrier of a screen helps me be someone a little different.

So, to try and ‘break out’ I decided to put in talk proposals, ask to speak at a few meetups and I was fortunate to be asked to speak (at the first online Sass Summit) too.

I don’t think I want to doing any public speaking anymore. In part, I guess you could say unfortunately, this is due to some criticism from audience members at the last couple of talks I gave. I know words shouldn’t hurt but they easily do when you’re miles from home and family and extremely tired too.

I was ‘accused’ (a strong word, my choice) of falling asleep during a talk I was giving. That hurt, I was tired. Tired with nerves and lack of sleep. At a different event I dissapointed a member of the audience due to my ‘lack of profresionality’ because I needed to refer to some notes on a brand new talk I was giving. I thought it’d be better for me to have some form of script than try and unprofessionally ‘wing it’.

The other reason is that I know developers far better than me that should be talking. I’m happy to listen. I’ve set up LDN Sass so I can listen.

Going back to the quote at the start of this post, and echoing Alice Bartlett’s recent post on what makes a good audience member.

“…if you’re going to hop on twitter and criticise a talk, make it constructive, and if you have nothing constructive to say, then shut up.”