Tek13: My Goals Realized

I just left Chicago after attending my favorite conference, php|tek.  This is an event that has become near and dear to me, and I am so grateful that the musketeers have stepped in to make sure that it continues running.

I first attended back it 2010, and have continued to grow ever since then.  When I say grow, most people will immediately assume that I have become a better developer, and while that is true, I have grown in more important ways.  I have become less introvert (notice I did not say that I have become an extrovert).  But I have learned to not shy away nearly as much.  I have grown to respect myself enough to know that I am more than I think I am.

In 2010, I decided that I wanted to speak at a conference one day.  I feel I did it the right way by starting off with my local user group.  I didn’t jump right in and try to tackle a conference.  Starting with the user group gives you a great intermediary step.  You probably know many of the members in the group, and it is usually smaller than a conference.

I was privileged enough to give two presentations this year at tek.  My first one, which I felt more prepared for was a little shaky, and I knew it.  :(  I did not take any offense to some of the criticism that I received.  I blame it partially on being the first time I have used a mic, and hearing yourself and knowing that I did not want to over modulate, I tended to speak more monitonely.  I am upset with that fact… I also tended to go through my slides faster than I should have.  I just needed to take more deep breaths and slow myself down.  Overall, I am pleased with the results, and on a scale of 1 (I passed out) to 10 (I knocked it out of the park), I would give myself a 5.1.  I know there is a ton of room for improvement in my public speaking, and I will do that.

My second talk was much better for the most part.  I did no use a mic this time, as the room and number of people were much smaller.  I am very happy that Beth Tucker-Long, joined in for a couple of reasons.  She was the only one to tell me that I needed to speak up.  It’s very easy to start off talking strong and projecting, only to end up trailing off into a conversational voice.  My overall energy level during this talk was much better, and I felt like I was having a conversation.  I hope I was less monotone, and better paced.  What I really like about presenting is the ability to have a conversation with the entire group where I get to learn as much as I may have taught.  If there is one thing I know, it’s that everyone has something to share.  Just because you go to a class to learn, there is probably something you know that can help the entire class (including the teacher).

I set some of my personal goals down on paper last year, and at this point have realized almost all of them.  I have been published in a PHP magazine (twice I may add), I have lost a bunch of weight (2 pounds to reach the goal I set), I spoke at a conference, among others.  Time to break out the pen and write some more down.  Beth and I discussed this and she mentioned maybe adding “book author” to the list…  Intriguing.

Thank you Musketeers.

 
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