Wordcamp Belfast – My first Wordcamp as a speaker

Speaking at a WordPress event can be scary but highly rewarding. This is how I went from doing a talk to a small local group to presenting at a full blown WordCamp in little more than 6 months. Oh, and how the fantastic WordPress community makes it a lot less scary than you might think.

I decided to do a talk

The back end of 2017 I decided I’d do a talk at my local WordPress Meetup in Glasgow.  The group are friendly and they knew it was my first talk, so I was counting in them to be supportive.

I wasn’t disappointed, I was well looked after and the talk seemed to be well received.  What I wasn’t prepared for was what happened next.

Someone mentioned my talk to someone in another WordPress group and next thing I know, I agreed to do the talk at a Brighton WordPress Meetup. Once again everyone was friendly and they live streamed the sessions at the meetup.

The live stream was watched by an organiser of the Portsmouth WordPress meetup and a few weeks later I was doing the talk again in Portsmouth.

You can pretty much guess what happened next…

Someone from Wordcamp Belfast was in attendance and asked me to submit the talk in a slightly altered form, for the next Belfast Wordcamp. I was on a role by now so I though what the heck and submitted it.

Wordcamps are bigger than WordPress meetups

I know this sounds obvious, but I wasn’t really prepared for the scale of change.

The number of people that attended my talk wasn’t massively different,  but the organisation was on a different scale.

There were…

  • Speaker checklists to  make sure I complied with
  • Codes of conduct to read
  • Draft slides to submit
  • Speakers’ Dinner to consider
  • Proper videoing of the talk
  • Real time audio captioning
  • Making sure I was in the right place in plenty of time

Don’t get me wrong, these are all things that make Wordcamps really well run and a joy to attend.  It was just a bit different to see it from a speaker’s point of view.

I have to say that the organisation of Wordcamp Belfast was terrific and they went out of their way to make sure that speakers were as comfortable as possible and supported us in every way possible.

Will I do it again?

Well, I’ve  been invited back next year and I’ve already agreed to do it. Now I have to sort out a new talk!

One day I’ll submit a talk to a Wordcamp Europe and go properly international.  I think I need to work up to that one though.

Here are my slides from Wordcamp Belfast in case you are interested.  There is also a rumour that the talk may be on wordpress.tv at some time in the future. Assuming my ugly mug didn’t break the camera.