Another day, another conference - the fifth for me this year! I can't tell you how excited I am to continue my speaking career, and my latest stop was Heartland Developer Conference in Omaha, NE.
I was asked to submit to this one last-minute and was thrilled to have my Angular 2 and TypeScript talk accepted, along with a brand new talk on the Elm programming language, which is by far my new favorite frontend web framework (gasp!)
I did my Angular 2 and TypeScript talk to an audience of about 150. One challenge I faced was cutting it down from an hour to 45 minutes, but I ended up having a bit of time to spare. I spent some time beforehand improving my slide deck to cut out the excess words and rely on visuals or a key phrase.
One thing that I learned that I did early in my speaking career was using my slides as a crutch, e.g. I'd use the bullets to know what to talk about next. A friend told me that this is normal for new speakers, but I knew I wanted to do better. I really worked to eliminate this, because wordy slides aren't the ideal. After doing my Angular 2 talk for so long, I was pretty comfortable with the content and so it didn't take me much practice to deliver it without the wordy slides. Success!
The talk that I did on Elm was my proudest yet. I worked really hard to dial this one up to 11. The strategy/style for this talk was a mixture of some of my favorite speakers - Cory House (be entertaining, focus on selling the idea, and don't do live demos) and Jay Harris/Jeff Strauss (know your slides really well, transition naturally, and make your slide deck absolutely beautiful!)
Overall, I did a pretty good job, but I knew after I finished that I need a stronger closing. I also unintentionally rushed a bit, so I ended up with some extra time. One of the great benefits of being in the speaker community is the feedback you get from your peers. I was thrilled that Cory House was attending HDC, so I asked him to come to watch my Elm talk and critique it. He went so far as to take notes and was very thoughtful on things I could improve on. My friends Jon Mills and Ken Versaw also had some great suggestions. I can't wait to use their feedback to make my talks even better.
I wasn't able to attend any sessions this time, which really bummed me out, but hey - duty calls! However, I did catch the end of a couple of talks that were very popular. Namely:
Heather Downing has cornered the market on unique talks in the mobile development space, including one on using beacons.
The MESH party was a ton of fun and the food was great. Awesome venue, good friends, and even a HoloLens to play with!
This wasn't a stop I was planning on making in my speaking travels, but it was a totally worthwhile one. I had a ton of fun and the tech community in Nebraska is awesome. If I have the opportunity, I'll definitely be returning next year!