Yesterday, I gave tips I hope are useful to prepare a technical talk involving demonstrations and live coding. I was then asked how I deal with the stress. That’s even trickier.
I know a lot of developers that are very capable but fail to deliver their knowledge in public. Sometimes because of a lack of public speaking technique, more often because of a massive dose of adrenaline running through their blood. Stress!
Here’s what I do to deal with the stress:
Talking in public is difficult. Talking about something you don’t master is a bigger, very stressful, challenge. So I prepare a lot and try to talk about things I use daily.
I talk a lot in public
Shipping software if difficult? Ship more often. Blogging is difficult? Blog more often. Talking in public is difficult? Talk more often. I used to be extremely shy. Until the age of 25, I couldn’t talk in front of an audience without almost collapsing. The solution was to force myself. Fake it until you make it.
I stress anyway
Just before a public talk, I stress. A lot. Not a lot the day before or even an hour before. That used to be the case. Not anymore. It’s the ten minutes just before a talk that are difficult. But what’s the risk. Nobody will die because I’m boring. Nobody will hate me if I say something stupid. I could even teach something or learn something with this talk. At least I’ll try to make the audience laugh!
Have an happy stress!