A week in the UK

Talking at SkillsMatter

Last week was very intense indeed. I gave my first talk at Skills Matter (video here).

I must say I am not content with my talk because my English was rubbish but on the other hand I am glad that it provided value to some attendees. That is why I did it. I am also glad because it gave me the opportunity to meet very nice people (we were having some chats before the talk, and afterwards in the pub). And I will do better the next time 🙂 I have learned several lessons.

First one, I will not give talks right after landing a plane. The fact that I could arrive late if the flight or the train was late, made me very nervous, I went running to the venue and it doesn't help to concentrate. I must fly the day before.

Second one, when I talk in English, I must have pretty much everything I want to say written in cards so that if I can't find the words, I can just read. My English is not too bad when I am relaxed but under pressure, it's much harder to find the words and pronounce. When giving a talk, I pay close attention to attendees, timing and the way I am expressing myself. All these concerns difficult my capacity to talk in English.
I'll be talking advanced English lessons with natives, aiming to get fluent some day. But in the meanwhile I must have the written speech as a backup.
When my friend Ivan Stepaniuk and I gave a talk in the Agile Testing Days last year, everything was written and it went better. Also the fact that we were two guys made it easier.

Third one, audience's feedback is different depending on the culture. When I talk in Spain I can clearly read faces and see if they follow me or not. But this time it was really hard for me to now if they were following me. I must not loose concentration regardless of my difficulties interpreting audience's feedback, but just keep going unless they actively ask.

Fourth, talking with braces is f***g annoying! 🙂

If I keep practicing and taking lessons, with the help of a trainer I'll become better.

Participating in the SocratesUK open space

The following days I participated in the #socratesuk open space, organized by the London Software Craftsmanship Community.
2013-09-21 18.31.10

A great event in the countryside, an incredible venue.

It started with lightning talks and a fish bowl. The next two days there were talks, discussions and time for pairing with people. Pairing was the part I enjoyed the most. After dinner people used to meet in the bar to talk, drink and pair.
The last day we spent the morning hiking together along the countryside in a beautiful sunny day.

2013-09-19 16.23.52

Rachel Davies did an excellent job facilitating the whole event. And people were friendly and willing to share and learn

Having everything in the same place was very handy to meet different people. And the food was good. I've learned, shared, and met very nice people. It's been totally worth participating.

Thank you very much to the organizers and all the participants.
2013-09-22 10.26.53

I'd like to participate in Socrates Germany next year as well as Socrates UK.

Several people said we must organize Socrates Canarias. What do you think? shall we? 🙂

See more pictures here





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  • franreyes

    I think that… several people can’t be wrong 😉

  • Jenny Mulholland

    I thought your English was fine, to be honest. I didn’t have any difficulty following what you were saying (maybe only the content of the talk when it came to the technical parts, but that’s only because I don’t know much Javascript!). English audiences are typically very bad at giving feedback (perhaps because we’re shy? especially software developers!) so you’re right to just carry on unless someone asks you a question. It was good that you left plenty of pauses though for the content on the slides to sink in, and asked the audience some questions to test our understanding (even though we were not very good at answering them!)

    Altogether I think you did a better job than you are giving yourself credit for 🙂

  • carlosble

    Thanks a lot Jenny! Your feedback as a native English speaker and software professional, is very valuable to me. This encourages me to improve and keep on trying 😉
    I’ll see you soon mate!

  • carlosble

    hehe, would you like to help with the organization? 😀

  • franreyes

    My english is bad, but maybe I can help in others activities 🙂