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Presenting at GDevCon#2 - thoughts and reflections

I wanted to put together a post about presenting at GDevCon2, which was my first experience of an audience of more than 20 people, with a few thoughts on how I felt the conference went.

For a lot of people public speaking isn’t their strong suit and that could be said for me. I have gained some confidence from presenting at the Midlands LabVIEW User Group a couple of times, but being on stage at GDevCon did result in mixed emotions. Firstly, excitement at being able to share Argenta’s approach to CI with the community, but mixed with the fear of presenting to such a large group of people.

Why present?

You need to have a reason to present, not just doing it for the sake of doing it. For me, the driver was wanting to share our approach with the community to further the discussion around a topic that is becoming more ingrained in LabVIEW projects. On a personal level, I also wanted to build my confidence and capabilities in presenting technical subjects.

First presentation to a large audience, where do you start?

For me it came down to a few key points, first of all in getting the structure and content of what I was sharing clearly laid out. Then, starting to work on how the content flows throughout the presentation ensuring the audience has a clear idea about what it is you are going to share with them and getting it across in a succinct manner. It’s difficult to know if this was achieved!

The second point is practice, as a novice presenter it was critical to me to be able to deliver the content without too much reference to my slides. So there was many a time in the weeks running up to GDevCon when I was presenting to myself (my family didn’t seem to be interested…)!

What was the outcome?

The outcome was a truly enjoyable experience that I want to encourage more people to put themselves forward for, not only at GDevCon, but at your local user group or NI/industry events. The benefits are massive not only from a personal achievement perspective, but also from the expansion of the subject area you are presenting. It was also fantastic to combine my presentation with a panel review, which i am really thankful to the guys who took part. It's just a shame i didn't have a couple of hours as there was tonnes to discuss, not everybody would've been happy about that though!

Discussion Panel (L-R) Joerg Hampel, Chris Roebuck, Sam Taggart & James McNally

Photo Credit: Kabul Maharjan

I have had several discussions following the presentation that I wouldn’t have had if I had not presented. These conversations will lead me to better understand what others are doing, share with them what we are doing and ultimately improve ours, and hopefully other people’s, processes to enable more robust project delivery.

How was GDevCon2?

What I presented at GDevCon2, for me, felt well in tune with the general vibe of the conference. The real, pragmatic content of the presentations with people willing to share details of what they have done to enable others to benefit. As one of the main objectives of the GDevCon team, I hope other attendees got the same feeling. As always there were many good discussions throughout the two days, not just with the Argenta team, but with other LabVIEW enthusiasts. It was also nice to get to know people not just professionally, but personally too.

The Argenta Team (L-R) Chris Woodhams, Marek Augusciak, Tobi James & Dawid Wozny

I am very excited about the prospect of GDevCon3 and the other developments within the organising team, so make sure you’re signed up for update emails! Hopefully we will see you next year, if not before!

Additionally, watch this space for further blog posts on our CI process as we look to virtual machines and Jenkins Pipelines. Do feel free to get in touch with me if you want to chat anything through or have questions from GDevCon which you didn’t get a chance to ask.

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