For the first time, this year we offer individual support for first-time speakers: No one is a born master, but don’t worry. We are a welcoming community (see our Code of Conduct) and looking forward to having you on stage! Read on for the interview with Martin Splitt, the first member of our support team:
Hi Martin, you are a very well known speaker. You gladly joined the “First Time Speaker Support Team” for the @JSKongress 2019 in Munich.
What motivates you to take a step back from the stage and support first-time speakers with your knowledge and experiences?
I think everyone has their own personal perspective and path that lead here. The more perspectives we get for the challenges we all face, the better we can understand these challenges and solve them together.
Do you remember the time, when you gave your first talks and the problems you had?
Oh yes, vividly. I would run ahead of my slides or forget to mention something or — even worse — try to read my notes and ending up sounding like a very boring robot.
Do you think it would have been easier for you if you had more support?
I think so — a few people giving feedback on your slides and storyline do go a long way. Also, I notice that it depends a lot on the events, too. Some events take great care of their speakers, like JSKongress for instance. That allows us, speakers, to focus on delivering our messages as great as possible versus dealing with all sorts of “housekeeping”.
Why do you think it is worth to become a speaker at conferences like JS Kongress?
The organizers and the audience are friendly and supportive. You’ll get a great opportunity to tell your story and exchange knowledge both during your presentation but also afterward when chatting to the attendees.
Who in your opinion should ask for the first time speaker support?
Anyone who’s speaking for the first time :) Honestly, anyone who would have an experience or a challenge that they’re not seeing represented at conferences they follow, should probably propose that topic.
What will you do, to support them upfront?
Basically whatever I can. Be it with figuring out what could be an interesting topic or helping with drafting the talk outline to structure their thoughts. I will also happily help with slides, code samples and dry runs for them to feel more comfortable when they go on stage.
And during the @JSKongress?
I will be around and talk to them before they go on stage. We ALL get nervous, it’s natural. Having a friendly face to talk to helps a lot! I will also happily be there for them if they need something and during the talk, I’ll be there in the front row — laughing at jokes, looking excited about their dramatic pauses and generally being a cheerleader.
Do you think such a supporter program can also lead to more inclusion in the tech community?
Being part of the majority in tech, I’m the wrong person to ask, but I hope so.
Thank you for your time, Martin. See you at @JSKongress and we are looking forward to having new speakers there.
If you want to contribute to @JSKongress 2019 and the only thing is you are unsure, not yet satisfied with your topic or afraid of, please ask for the first time speaker support. Even if your topic is not finished yet, use our CfP form for first-time speakers! As Martin told in the interview, you will discuss and finalize your topic and the structure of your talk with one of our great supporters and they will help you to create great content for the community. You will get the chance of 1–2 trial runs and a supportive hand at the venue.