technical speaking – getting better over time

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technical speaking – getting better over time

April 17th, 2016 by Jeanne Boyarsky

I recently needed to find a video of myself speaking. This caused me to notice that I’ve gotten much better (and more comfortable) speaking since 2007.

2007 – Google Test Automation Conference

In 2007, I attended the Google Test Automation Conference. They had 5 minute lightning talks and I signed up. This mean that I “wrote” what I was going to say that day and wasn’t prepared. More importantly, at that point, I’d only spoken once or twice before in front of a large audience and only internally at work. I remember being scared and worried about going over time (if you went over, they threw stuff at you)

That said, I was substantially better in 2007 then I was in 2002! I remember having to give a presentation in 2003 or so at work. I memorized every word I was going to say!

What I noticed rewatching the video

  • I didn’t sound confident in the intro
  • I fiddled with my hands a lot at the beginning
  • Once I got into the tech content, I started looking around and gesturing more
  • I stuck to that podium like glue
  • I didn’t know to hold my fingers up when listing points yet


In 2009, I joined Toastmasters. I realized I wanted to get better at engaging the audience. My focus was improving at “humorous technical content”. Because if you can make someone laugh, you get their attention!


In 2014, I gave a presentation about Java to high school students and they were kind enough to record it. This time I was prepared. And more importantly, I had skills to draw from. In addition to Toastmasters, I had given many more presentations at work.

This time I noticed:

  • I looked at my laptop less
  • I moved around and engaged the audience more
  • I was able to make impromptu jokes
  • I looked more confident


In 2015, I gave a 10 minute talk about Agile. Again, I was prepared. And again, I noticed many of the same skills. I was comfortable and able to make jokes. For this one, I was involving the audience, so I can really see how well I was adapting to what was going on around me.

(not sure what happened to the video)


Comment from Omkar
Posted: May 21, 2016 at 12:31 pm

Great! But not able to see the last presentation on agile. There is some error while loading the video.

Comment from Jeanne Boyarsky
Posted: May 22, 2016 at 11:36 am

I don’t know what happened to that video so got rid of the link.

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