wordcamp niagara schedule

WordCamp Niagara 2019 – My First WordCamp Talk

wordcamp niagara schedule

First WordCamp presentation complete! Thanks to all who came, and if you missed it, have no fear! You can check out my slides at the bottom of this post.

Come back to this post in a few days for a recap and reflection on the event, and I’ll see if I can get the slides up in a better format than just a PDF. Because this post 110% wasn’t done at 9 am right before the opening keynote…in my defence, my body is still on west coast time after spending the week in Kelowna, and I woke up far later than planned this morning!

Updated: Post-WordCamp Recap

Better late than never for my thoughts, right?!

My WordCamp Niagara 2019 experience started earlier than most at the speaker’s dinner the night before. Going alone to events with people I don’t know always leaves me wanting to back out right until I walk in the door (and even once I’m inside, to be honest), but I pushed aside my fears and ended up having a nice night!

Only a small but mighty group made it out, but it was great to meet some other speakers in advance while enjoying some delicious food! Certainly better than spending the evening alone in my AirBnB.

After the dinner, I returned to my cozy AirBnB to relax in the king-sized bed while doing some final revisions and review of my presentation.

AirBnB views. I wish I could have stayed there longer!

And then the real fun began! Doing this recap almost a month later, unfortunately, my memory isn’t as sharp as it could have been and I didn’t take any significant notes on the day. What I do remember is I was able to listen to some great talks on the WordPress community and self-care, building static websites, using Gutenberg and website security.

All of the presentations gave me some great takeaways for both professional and personal projects. It also helped me realize how much I’ve learned about WordPress in the past year which was a nice boost of confidence.

I was even convinced to finally suck it up and give Gutenberg a try, starting with redesigning my website’s home page and this very blog post.

I’ll be the first to admit that I probably didn’t get as much out of this WordCamp as I could have. I’m not always the greatest networker on the best of the days, but being a bit out sorts from being on the tail end of a cold and still readjusting to eastern time after returning from vacation out west less than 48 hours before didn’t help either!

I was also careful not to exhaust myself from socializing and having nothing left for my presentation, given I had the second last timeslot of the day. Not a concern for many but a delicate balance for myself! Although, now that I’ve gotten over that first presentation hurdle, I don’t think I’ll be as worried about this next time.

Aside from my own presentation, I was also part of the Women in WordPress panel. Huge imposter syndrome for this, I almost didn’t say yes when I asked because I didn’t think I had enough experience with WordPress, I hadn’t been in the industry long enough, I was too young, why would anybody want to hear what I had to say…

But nonetheless, I took my chair at the front of the room and had an absolute blast! It was great to hear the experiences of other women on the panel, I really enjoyed sharing my own and I was grateful for everybody who came to listen.

It was a very timely talk given I’ve been struggling with what feels like some gendered treatment in various areas of life lately, so it helped me sort out some of those feelings and figure out new ways to deal with different situations. It was also a nice reminder that I actually enjoy speaking in front of people, and should try to find opportunities to do it more often…

Finally, 3:30 rolled around and it was my time to shine! I never took a final count but I believe there were about 20-25 people in the room for my presentation which I was thrilled with. It was a bigger room than I had envisioned, and while it’s been a while since I’ve done something like this, I’m quite comfortable speaking in front of people so it didn’t phase me. I did, however, surprise myself by launching into SUPER FAST SPEAKER MODE! Whoops.

I blame that on a mix of adrenaline, nerves and honestly, not being as prepared as I could have been. I knew my subject well, obviously, but I hadn’t gone through the presentation itself as much as I would have liked. I did my best, work had been busy leading up to the conference and being on vacation during the week leading up to it didn’t help either. I made it through with no problems, but I will definitely put more focus on preparing even earlier and doing more run-throughs next time.

Once I finished my presentation at warp speed (in hindsight, a bit of a good thing because it might have gone over my time limit otherwise), there was a Q&A session. At first, I awkwardly stood there as nobody asked any questions, but just as I was about to give a final thank you, a hand went up and then the questions started flying!

I can’t recall all of the questions, but the discussion went everywhere from updating posts and social links to Google My Business and beyond. I loved sharing my thoughts and experiences, and I think I even learned a few things myself!

Overall, I would sum up my WordCamp experience as being really damn proud of myself. I put myself out there to submit a presentation, I put in the work to pull the presentation together and I gave not just my first WordCamp talk, but my first presentation as a marketing professional.

The last two years haven’t been easy for me and finding my path to marketing has been a long one, so to stand up in public and share my expertise was a bigger moment for me than anybody in the room probably realized.

WordCamp Niagara will always have a special place in my heart because of this, I’m already looking forward to future WordCamps and thinking about which one I might apply to speak at next!

In summary, I didn’t come into my presentation as prepared or as energetic as I would have liked to have been, but it was a success nonetheless. Thank you to all of the organizers, volunteers, speakers and attendees for such a fantastic day, for listening to my rambling and for all that you do for the WordPress community. See you at another WordCamp!