Was I able to do that?

For the last 2-3 months, the readers of my blog may have seen a small icon at the top of the pages giving you a hint that I'm presenting at WSO2Con 2011, the technology conference of the year. A few months back, Samisa, the engineering head of WSO2, forced me to submit a talk for this conference. Hesitating, I prepared an abstract of a talk about SOA and quality and sent my proposal. After a few weeks, I was informed that my proposal had been accepted and that I would speak at the third day of the conference. First, I was shocked. Why? I always thought negatively about presentations and public speaking. As my batch mates at university of Colombo knows, I myself and a lot of others had a bad experience w.r.t presentations during campus era :). Worst, I had not given a public speech for a time that I remember. In summary, it had been kind of a nightmare to me.
I did not have any other option, but do this speech at an level that I can watch it later without cursing me at least :) Therefore, I started preparation. The subject and topic is not a surprise for me. It is the subject that I live in and spent 8 years of my career, testing and QA. SOA is also not new to me, I have been working with SOA for 5 years out of 8 years. Therefore, I knew that I have a LOT to talk. But just talking non-sense was not required. SOA testing is a relatively new topic and there is not universally agreed methodology for testing service oriented solutions. I thought to put together my experience into a methodology and present.
I borrowed SOA design, concepts and principles book written by Thomas Erl from WSO2 library and read it completely. It was a great reference and I was able to clarify a lot of concerns that I had about some SOA concepts.
Then, I started to prepare slides. When the days of WSO2con were coming closer, the nervousness and stress going up straightly. One day I met with my close friend and the presentation and public speaking master blaster at WSO2, Prabath Siriwardhana. He nicely explained some of the tips that he followed during presentations and he mentioned that practicing a speak is the best way to do it nicely. So, I practiced. I practiced a lot everyday. I learned a lot. I explored everything related to SOA testing. I my self came into a position that I was able to answer very complicated questions related to SOA testing. The confidence started to build. BUT, nervousness and negative mind set still did not disappear.
As usual, I'm not a closed person. Hence, I openly talked with colleagues at WSO2 and my friends about my nervousness and possible failure cases. Fortunately, I live in a world where 90% of my friends, WSO2 colleagues are truely friends. They listened to me and helped me a lot. The senior wso2 folks such as Afkham Azeez, Selvarathnam Uthaiyashankar, Samisa, Prabath, reviewed my slide deck and helped me to correct some errors. Then, most of the folks listened to my boring rehearsal sessions at office premises :) Iranga, one of my closest friends, visited me all the way from his office and went through the slides and speech. His input was also invaluable because of his experience on QA.
Finally, on 15th of Thursday, September 2011, I delivered my first public speech at WSO2Con in front of a large gathering including a lot of folks from various companies all over the world.

As the presenter, I'm not sure whether it is a success or failure, but everyone came into me and congratulated that it was a nice talk. I still cannot believe! I'm very lucky to see the tweets as below as the response to my speech!


afkham said…
Congratulations on a great presentation. This was truly a great presentation, and I too learned many points about SOA testing. The content, delivery & presentation style was flawless. Keep doing more presentations & public speeches, and that will only improve you even more. All the best!
Srinath Perera said…
it was a great presentation .. I only realized when I read this that you worked heard for that ;) .. but fruit's of hard work is sweeter .. you should be talking more often .. and it will be fun.
Congratulations Charitha ayya !! The slides look great !! I also saw a quite a lot of tweets admiring your talk. It was in my must watch list too, but missed it because I had to attend an unavoidable meeting in the university. Please let us know / link when the videos are available, waiting eagerly to see it.

P.S. : From your slides it is clearly visible that you have absorbed the best practices from WSO2's best presenters and it has made you one of them :)

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