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Craig Nicol (he/him)
Craig Nicol (he/him)

Posted on • Originally published at on

The first rule of dog training

(EDIT : whilst the below line is an old joke, part of putting information out in public is making sure your facts are correct. So, for the dog trainers out there, as Christiaan Baes 🇧🇪‏ @ chrissie1 points out, the first rule is Be Consistent , which means I can’t break this URL, but I will leave this note in place.)

The first rule of dog training is : know more than the dog.

If you pass that level, you’re ready to give a talk. Have you used node.js on a real project, or evaluated it properly against another framework? Have you failed badly on a project that would serve as a warning to others? Did you learn something important from your mentor or boss that they’re happy for you to share? What do you know now that you wish someone had told you last year?

When I first gave a talk in public, I was very nervous. I still get that way.

My first talk wasn’t an original idea. At the first DDD Scotland, I saw Ben Hall talking about Red, Green, Refactor and took the ideas away to try it properly, without fully understanding it (sorry, Ben). The following year, at the next DDD Scotland, I did a live coding session entitled “TDD? I don’t have time” that revisited the highlights of that talk, then filled in some of the lessons I learned from applying it. There was a bigger audience, and lots of fresh faces who found the idea interesting, but I didn’t plan it enough and it was very rough.

I started giving talks as a way to improve my communication skills. And on my first attempt, I failed badly. And I had to make the choice. Do I write it off, and retreat, or do I keep doing it so I can learn to do it better? It was a talk about agile principles, so I had to take the latter route.

So I did some user group talks, 20 minutes, instead of an hour. Some pikka machu talks, 6 minutes. I’ve since done workshops and guided conversations, where I let other people talk. I’ve paired with others to talk. I’ve talked about technology, people, other talks I’ve seen and the near future. I learned some tricks along the way, but Scott Hanselman (check out the related links too) and Christos Matskas summarise them much better than I could.

There are good reasons to speak at user group events, or conferences, or in your office. Don’t be afraid of being noticed. And if you want any more advice or encouragement, leave a comment or find me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

And don’t forget, DDD Scotland is back. Submit.

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