The calls for sessions for DrupalCon Vienna had just closed and all of us who had submitted their sessions were waiting, eager to find out about the result. It was just a usual day at the office and I get an email from the Drupal Association. I opened the mail and what I saw wanted to make me jump out of my chair! Yes, my selection for DrupalCon was confirmed and I was so excited! It was an unbelievable situation for me because it was quite unexpected, not that I was under confident about myself but to be a young member in the Drupal Community, and getting selected amongst so many talented and experienced people out there, is sure to make anyone feel surprised. With only an experience of 1.5 years of working with QED42 as a user experience designer, this seemed like a dream come true for me.
I’ve spoken publicly before, mostly in the context of design, but preparing for a Drupal conference was a whole new affair for me.
My excitement had not ceased but there was a slight fear building up, of talking in one of the biggest conferences. I had to prepare myself to speak in front of an audience that had a lot more experience in Drupal than I had.
Being a young designer, the whole idea of my talk was to put forward a fresh perspective on designing for Drupal.
I positively had a feeling that the selection of my session happened to get a fresh point of view from a person who was new to the Drupal community and as a designer could help contribute to bring a positive change to the Drupal world.
I wanted to put forward the smallest of the details of my experience - in a manner that could successfully communicate my opinions to the versatile audience - which could be anyone from a developer to a project manager.
I wrote down my thoughts and insights I encountered during the process of creating my slides. While preparing for the talk I realised that I had gained a good amount of information which would help me further in presenting my topic.
Understanding the main themes of the conference helped me shape the focus of my talk. Speaking for the first time in front of a technical audience at a conference can be intimidating where some audience members may have more knowledge than you about your subject. Preparation is crucial. I was also getting a helpful feedback while preparing, particularly about expanding the content to make it more relevant.
I had prepared myself for the best and the worst. It was about time that I began my presentation. The first few minutes of the talk were the toughest but as I went on sharing my knowledge I became less anxious. I realised that speaking at a conference is a great way to share knowledge and experience and it is quite surprising to see how much we can learn when researching our talk topics. It’s also a great opportunity to network with other professionals in our field, and make some great new friends.
It was a great relief to know that I did not screw up as bad as I thought I might, and maybe my talk helped someone. It was also very rewarding to get feedback from the audience and hear their thoughts on what they had to say.
The entire presentation felt like an out of body experience to me. It took a lot of time and effort to prepare and speak at this conference but it was worth it. And it is good to know that I’m a part of Drupal and I’m being able to participate in whatever way I can, to add to this amazing community.
Travelling alone this far, for the first time, I was scared. But knowing that I am a part of the Drupal community and connected to everybody around me through Drupal gave me a sense of belonging and lifted up my spirits. To my surprise I wasn’t feeling out of place because it felt like a family, our own Drupal family where our collective aim is to work for the betterment and growth of this community. My excitement was at it’s peak till the closing ceremony. And I’m now looking forward to more such opportunities to speak and share stories.