Public speaking: facing shy and stage fright

Many people don’t believe me when I say I am a shy person and I don’t like public speaking. How have I learned to overcome stage fright?

Everything started in the University (where else?) around late 90’s. I’ve studied Industrial Engineering (nothing related with computer science or programming). I was mad at using HP calculators, participating in some international newsgroups, betatesting new models, and even writing some code. That was my first participation in on-line tech communities.

My colleagues at the university asked me for a training course. That was my first public talk, in front of around 100-200 people in a classroom, using real transparencies. I still remember my legs shivering.

We ended setting up an small HP calculators users group. It was the first tech community I’ve managed!.

During those years, I started contributing to an open source project called giac/xcas. And in parallel, I joined open source projects related with embedded Linux (Familiar, GPE, etc.).

In 2001, I joined AsturLiNUX, the Asturias LUG. My first talk in our regional meeting about “Linux for handheld devices” was the seed to submit it for the V Hispalinux congress. I ended giving a talk to my reference gurus on Linux and free open source software in 2002, on my birthday. That day deserves a post by itself!

Why all this story now? Time for public speaking other language!

Almost 15 years later, I’ve reached one big milestones in my facing shy when public speaking experience:

Give a talk in English about free, open source software communities in reference conferences like FOSDEM, OSCON or LinuxCon

I’ve already given talks about technology and community management in English, and I’ve even been master of ceremonies for some small events. But get accepted as speaker in one reference conference has been the challenge.

And I’ve got it, not once but twice this year. One in Europe and one in the USA:

On February, I gave a talk in FOSDEM Community devroom:

And this month, I’ve given an update of the same talk in the Open Source Summit North America:

And it seems it’s not going to be the last time!

What’s next?

My plans for following posts are:

What do you think?

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