Phew. So my first ever speaking gig is over and my hangover has left the building. I couldn’t write about it before because it was mother’s day and, to be frank, my wife wasn’t going to stand for me spending all day Sunday fannying about on Twitter and blogging and all that new media baloney (“will you get off that fucking laptop and make me something nice for sacrificing my vagina and looking after your children for four fucking years now”). But now I’m on the other side of it it’s more or less a legal requirement that I blog about the experience – especially given how fucking scared of it I was beforehand.
Firstly, these things are a lot like the music scene. There, you have a hardcore crowd of people who are really passionate about music and religiously go to gigs wherever and whenever they can. Then you have another load of people who are interested in a specific kind of music and quite fancy the sound of the show. And then there’s people who are more interested in the beer and wish the band would shut the fuck up. And at the middle of it all you have the band.
As I find with my music, I’m a bit detatched from the “scene” as a whole. My attentions are too split to really get into the zone of these things. I’ve got my kids and my wife in the evenings and my work in the day and then I’m in the band and I’ve got this blog and a couple of others that I run and… really, there’s not much time to truly get into this side of professional life. My blogging is sporadic, my use of Twitter is spotty, scatological and socially inept and generally I don’t have a professional profile as such or the spare time to work at getting one. I was even late to this whole shebang – prompting event organiser Dom to basically abuse me by way of introduction/greeting (thanks Dom! )
That’s probably why this was all so alien to me and I had no idea – none at all – about what kind of level to pitch my presentation. Thankfully, Becky Naylor has been on hand to review my slides and gave me some ace feedback about the kinds of things I should include. When I saw my first presentation, the fear started to leave me. Judith Lewis‘ talk was fun and basically centred on the twin topics of chocolate and gay balloon porn but the level of detail in there was nothing frighteningly new to me as an SEO.
Following excellent talks from Sarah Carling on the project management of SEO (interesting because it showcased a very, very different way of organising things from the way we work at Bronco) and Patrick Moogan on linkbuilding (great speaker – apparently his first time too – great advice for old and new hands alike) and a catch up with old friends, it was time to speak…
Once I was actually up there, the sleepless nights I’d had through the week seemed like a waste of time as I found it piss easy to open my mouth and formulate sentences. You’d hope so – I’m 35 and have been speaking since I was 1. I’m also a total gobshite, so why I ever wondered I’d find it hard is anyone’s guess. Afterwards, there were a good few questions from the crowd which I was (hopefully) able to give good answers to and that’s really all the reaction I hoped to get. Aside from a couple of laughs I got – I think I could have been the only guy to make a joke about Michael Jackson giving a chimp a blowjob – I said what I intended to say and hopefully people took away something useful. I might blog about my speech and put the diagrams up and such when I get my finger out of my arse.
Anyway, because I don’t do the networking thing I hung around like Billy No Mates for a while looking for feedback on my talk on Twitter (here it is, in entireity!) Eventually, at the bar, I caught the eye of the man who’d made the Tweet and quickly established that he was a mouthy Scot (what are the odds?) with a German lady friend/wife and a passion for The Drink. We soon established that we shared a hatred of polar bears and later on misused Twitter to cause offence to other event attendees.
The free bar was, naturally, the highlight – not only of the weekend but very possibly my entire life. Pausing only to eat a pasty and a packet of live-giving, nutritious Fridge Raiders, I drank until two things occurred to me:
- “I’m really, really tired” and
- “I have to exchange money if I want further drinks”
At this point, I headed to my room and the day ended with my glasses buried deep in my alarmingly apparent face fat as I snoozed, face down in the pillows.
So, in summary:
- The event was ace (and thanks to Dom and his numerous cohorts for sorting it out)
- I quite enjoyed the actual speaking bit in the final analysis
- I very much enjoyed the free bar
- Polar bears are utter, utter wankers.