My first formal presentation was tonight. It was a 2 hour talk with a discussion on the topic of ‘Demise of Test Scripts; Rise of Test Ideas’. It was at Atlasssian headquarters, Sydney.
Here is my experience report.
I arrived early, fully aware that technical difficulties were inevitable. I had a set of tasks I needed to get out of the way before people started arriving in 15 minutes. I knew there would be problems, but not quite as many as there turned out to be.
- Getting into the building. I had to negotiate the lifts not going to the level I wanted to go. After some slick social engineering and I was up to my level.
- Connect my laptop. I guessed that it was going to be a VGA connection. I was wrong, it was HDMI. Both supported by my laptop. I left my Macbook Air at home as it didn’t seem to have any display port. I wanted to use it though, as it is a much smoother ride.
- Access to internet. Found the network, and arrived at a browser log in page. Requested help from the support staff, but it was a no go. No one knew the username/password. I had to borrow an employee’s computer which was already logged in to the network. It was also a Macbook Air, so I was right at home. There was a thunderbolt to HDMI adaptor which made things work for the Mac.
- Opened Google Presentation, and got an error loading up the presentation saying it timed out. I got this on my network too, so I wasn’t too worried, clicked around, and got it working.
- Test YouTube link speed. Added a nice link to the front page to load up some cool relaxation music with beautiful scenes to use as my meet ‘n greet background show.
- Sound. No way to get sound going through Macbook Air’s thunderbolt port. Came up with a dodgy ‘microphone resting close to Mac speakers’ solution. Worked well enough.
- Speaker notes. Did not manage to find out how to have speaker notes independent of the main presentation. The Mac just showed what was on the projector. So I resorted to my print out of notes I had prepared earlier.
Next time I will bring my Mac, and find out how to best get sound through to the sound system.
Despite being nervous and anxious all day, I felt very settled leading up to starting. That was unexpected, but I will definitely go with it. The crowd was about 30 strong. With an intro from Bruce McLeod, I was off and in to the presentation itself.
Some slides contained too many words. I should have known this stuff. Really the only way to do a presentation is to present it all from experience. Maybe that is why James Bach’s great use of Experience Reports in conferences works so well. Its always best when people present from experience. It just makes it feel natural.
I decided to go off script part way through. Instead of referring to my presenter notes, I looked at the slide, and came up with relevant points and stories. I was not getting much enjoyment before from reading content to the group.
Later, I realised that the first part of my topic was largely read, or scripted. I think it sounded boring, which is funny because that is a prime outcome of doing test scripting. Boredom!
My style and content will require a few enhancements (my own judgements on myself).
- Keep posture looking interested. There was a tall table with a tall chair. It was too irresistible to slouch in the chair, or lean over the table swaying my hips.
- Don’t look at the slides when presenting! ugghhhh, this is so 101.
- Cut down the words on the slides to a minimum.
- Zero reading.
Some kind people told me these nice things after the presentation:
- was confident
- dealt with questions well by having a response for each question
- was enthusiastic when talking about my own experiences
- used embedded media well
- got a laugh for the Moonwalking monkey
- added value and excitement through the questions and discussions
- kept the audience alert and energised by having them partake
The Meetup went overtime, and almost all the audience stayed. I take that as a good sign. Afterwards, a lot of people came up to me discuss topics further, ask more questions and say thanks. That was really great.
I think I am on to a good set of ideas. The slide deck was very optimistic as it covered a lot. My wife said it is an entire software testing course. I think I will refine it based on feedback, and slice and dice it to fit other learning modes such as a workshop.
I think that I can get more clarity and understanding if I pose the same topic through a hands-on demonstration with less emphasis on test script negatives, and more on how test ideas offer so much more value to testing.
Author: Richard Robinson