My Public Speaking Adventure

My Public Speaking Adventure

I started participating in public speaking in early 2018 through the local tech meetup CocoaHeads Boston. I want to thank the organizers for giving me the first opportunity to present at the tech meetup.

First is always big. You have a lot of doubts and anxieties over your abilities. The feedback and criticism you get from the first opportunity are tremendously helpful and act as a launchpad for further progress. I was pretty nervous on my first try, but the words of encouragement and growth feedback from this first talk helped me up my game for subsequent speaking engagements.

I am an introvert, so you can understand how even the idea of public speaking can petrify me and make me run and hide in my closet. However, like the beginning of all critical things in life, it was triggered by an unfortunate incident.

I was passed over for an important opportunity by the management of our department. I was given the impression that I would be the first one to get that opportunity but was given to someone from outside. It filled me with indignation and was a push to show my worth someplace where very few people had ventured. When I saw the Call for Papers for Speaking at a tech conference in my Twitter feed, I realized that this is the one. As Sir Richard Branson once said,

"If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes- then learn how to do it later."

Before that, I had zero experience speaking at tech conferences, but this push acted as a real motivation for me to prepare myself well for it.

Of course, my journey wasn't without rejection. I received at least 10 rejections before I was accepted to speak at iOSDevUK as my first-ever international conference. It was another boost to my ego as I was already struggling with numerous rejections the week before. If it hadn't come early, I would've given up on my public speaking ambitions in the following weeks.

After this initial call, I started getting frequent acceptances with many more rejections, of course.

I gave 6 talks in 2018 and 7 in 2019. Although this sounds like a small number, I had to juggle between job, presentation work, practice, home, and travel. If you are presenting the same topic, it becomes slightly easier since the presentation is ready. But if the topics are different, you have to work double including presentation slides and practice sessions.

I had a fun time during 2018 and 2019 traveling all around the world and delivering tech topics to worldwide audiences. I was lucky to have an early start in 2018. Imagine if I had begun in early 2020, where things would have been by then.

There were a few reasons why I stopped active public speaking engagements.

The last 3 conferences of 2019 were grueling and exhausting. I traveled to 3 different places in 3 different countries in the span of 2.5 weeks. At the end of it, I was burned out.

Covid came in early 2020. That stopped all the travel - Not just international travel. My main motivation for tech speaking was to actively and in-person engagement with the community. I didn't think presenting virtually even to a worldwide audience was worth all the effort and time I had to into presenting something.

With all the time, effort, and dedication, there were no monetary benefits from this presentation. I was doing it for fun and as a hobby in the beginning, but after some time, I felt I deserve some compensation for that.  Of course, my company would sponsor my tickets, hotel stays, and food. Conference organizers would pay for the hotel, I would get VIP pass for conferences with free lunch and dinner. But there was no honorarium (Except for one conference) or additional comp on top of that. Even if they would offer, immigration rules for H1B visa holders in the USA made it impossible to accept monetary compensation from any sources other than your official list of employers impossible.

I am still open to presenting a tech topic at international conferences, but instead of pushing, I am looking for a pull-based approach. If someone approaches me for presenting a topic, I am more than happy to do it, but I am just tired of applying for CFPs and getting No as an answer.

This blog acts as a substitute for that. If I know something, it is a great platform for spreading my knowledge to the audience. Conferences are good, but I am not actively chasing them anymore.

If you want to know more about my tech conference speaking engagement and talk content, please visit My Tech Conferences Speaking Engagements page.

I am still open to sharing my journey and experience with you. Are you an aspiring public speaker? Do you have an ambition to speak at tech conferences but don't know where to start? Do you need help building a solid presentation? Do you apply to a lot of conferences but do not get accepted? Do you need help building a strong proposal for Call for Papers for international conferences?

Search no more. I am here for you. You can go ahead and book a free call to know more about the service and I will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have in this free Google Meet call. You can also book the paid call for getting professional advice on how to prepare and deliver a talk at tech conferences by visiting this link.

If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn.

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