How long did I prepare for my talk?


Recently I published a blog called “How to prepare for a talk”. I wrote how I prepared for my Webcamp Zagreb talk.

Now the talk is over, and I am back home. When I went to Zagreb, I was excited and frightened. Would my preparations work out? The first time in my life my hands were shaking when I went on stage. I am always a bit excited when I go on stage, but usually I can handle this well. Not this time.

How it went

I went on stage, and almost anything went as planned. For the first time, I said what I actually wanted to say. I ended in time. I know exactly how much time I needed. I was safe. After a couple of minutes on stage, this safety calmed me down.

When the talk was over, I did not know if people liked it. Without any expectation, I turned off the airplane mode on my phone… and then I saw it. Twitter showed 20+ notifications. Turned out it was much, much more than 20. People were happy.

I was able to deliver value.

I can’t tell how happy I was to see that. In my talk, I told people you need to give something of value, and everything would go well. But what is “value”? It is something you have to guess. But in my case it worked.

Until I left, I had a lot of people speaking to me. They felt motivated, encouraged and excited. I explained in my talk already how I prepared. I wrote it in my blog. But I didn’t tell how much I prepared.

Preparation time in numbers

Here are my numbers:

  • 10 hours+: research. This number depends on you. You shouldn’t take this number into account.
  • 4 hours: script writing and editing
  • 2 hours: recording the script multiple times
  • 12 hours: listening to the script on my mobile, mostly while running
  • 15 hours: practicing the talk
  • 2 hours: preparing the slides

I would calculate around 40 - 50 hours of preparation time for a talk of this kind.

I have started around a month in advance to prepare for this talk. I think I should start six weeks in advance for the next one. The reason was that I practiced mostly the last nine days. I assume if you practiced the same amount of time over a longer time frame, you would feel even safer.

It sounds a lot for just 20 minutes of speaking. But honestly, this was the best investment I did so far. It simply doesn’t make sense to travel such a long way to speak without proper preparation. Either you do your best and invest the necessary time, or you save the time.

Costs of this trip

Here are a few other notes on this talk.

I needed around 400 € traveling costs. That’s the money for the flight and the train to the flight. Add a few bucks for the food you need on travel. And some money you need for buying a gift for your 4-year-old. WebCamp paid the hotel room for me. There was always plenty of food. I just bought a couple of coffees outside the venue and some water bottles.

What I got back

I missed a lot of talks. So many people talked to me that I decided to go with WebCamps YouTube channel. YouTube is always available while the people are only here for a day. I “earned” twenty Twitter-followers, plenty of great photos and awesome reading tips!

It seems when you are open on stage and speak about your fears, people reach out to you and are open to their fears as well. I have learned tons of what people are fearing. This is a lot of valuable content for either this blog or my other one, “The Zen Programmer”.

And here is one of the nice images. Me with 8 kilo less than two months ago and a fresh haircut :) And a shirt from my company CVLTWEAR.

Grobmeier, by Neven Falica

Image taken by Neven Falica - Thank you!

Tags: #Speaking #Conference #WebCamp