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5 things I learned as a “first-time” CAS speaker

5 things I learned as a “first-time” CAS speaker

Sonsoles Saiz

Transformation Consultant at Netmind

In November last year, I had the privilege of participating as a speaker at the Agile Spain Conference (CAS) in La Coruña, together with my colleague Macarena Villar. There we presented our experience on “How we had devised, designed and piloted from scratch a feedback process within Netmind“. The CAS is one of the most important events organized by the Spanish agile community since 2010, a meeting point for industry professionals to share knowledge and experiences around agile frameworks.    

Bringing together more than 1,000 professionals, the first time you get on stage can be a bit overwhelming, so I would like to share the 5 learnings I took away from my experience as a first-time speaker at CAS. 

Tips for being a first-time speaker

5 things I learned as a first-time CAS speaker | Illustration by Andy Baraja

1. Practice. Practice. Practice and when you think you've got it, practice again.

We are very used today to see people speaking in public, but most of them do not show the hours of work and rehearsal behind those successful talks. There are many variables to manage: timing, presentation/visual support, non-verbal communication with gestures, using space… so, the more times you rehearse, the less uncertainty you will manage! It’s really worth it. There’s nothing more satisfying than getting on stage and being sure you’re going to do great. 

5 things I learned as a first-time CAS speaker | Illustration by Andy Baraja

2. Try to feel at home!

And you may be thinking yes, very well, but how do you do that? Well, simple: How do you get to know your friends? By spending time with them. How do you feel at home? By spending time there. That said, know your target audience, find out who they are, what motivates them, what they need to hearbut also, know your stage, visit it a few hours before and if you have the opportunity, practice at least once there. If you feel comfortable and confident on stage, you will transmit that same confidence to your audience. 

5 things I learned as a first-time CAS speaker | Illustration by Andy Baraja

3. Create powerful storytelling.

Stories connect. If you want to capture the attention of your audience, you have to tell an interesting story that makes them think and feel identified. In our case, we tell our story, Netmind’s story, without filters. In addition, I personally believe that it helps to illustrate concepts better and make them easier to understand. 

5 things I learned as a first-time CAS speaker | Illustration by Andy Baraja

4. Connect with your audience:

In addition to answering questions at the end of the talk, look for ways to interact with the audience. For example, we did this through an exercise in which the audience had to stand up, raise their handsThis helps to keep the audience engaged throughout the presentation. 

5 things I learned as a first-time CAS speaker | Illustration by Andy Baraja

5. And finally, take advantage of the learnings.

Even if you receive some negative feedback, don’t get discouraged. At the end of the talk, feedback was collected anonymously and I received one that I did not like at all, but talking with a colleague, my vision changed. We always have room to grow!

Reflection of a first-time speaker

In conclusion, being a speaker at such an event can be a great challenge, but it can also be a very enriching experience.  

I hope these tips will be useful to prepare your next talk or presentation. The key is you and your Growth Mindset, believe in yourself and your ability to change, learn and develop yourself! 

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