preparing to share: freaking out a little

preparing to share an honest look at preparing my first conference talks

Does public speaking excite you and yet make you freak out a little?

It sure does for me. As my first conference talks draw closer, I’m starting to have small waves of anxiety & doubt at the prospect of speaking about Kotlin to a room full of people.

They are infrequent, but in the moment, I totally feel like everyone there is going to know more about the topic than I am.

I’ve spoken at conferences & big events before, so it’s not really the actual act of speaking that causes me consternation. Rather, it’s the voice in my head telling me people will discover suddenly, while I’m on stage, that I actually have no idea what I’m talking about. Classic imposter syndrome on display.


Now, obviously I don’t think I’ve been faking it this whole time.  The logical part of my brain knows I’ll be just fine.  I think it’s perfectly normal to have these nerves leading up to an event, and yet the nerves don’t go away.


They were better when I just had one 20-minute talk to prepare for ChicagoRoboto.  Now that I am preparing a full talk for Droidcon Boston AND a short talk for ChicagoRoboto, the nerves have been in overdrive.


I keep having to remind myself of who my audience is

  • they are just starting out with Kotlin and/or Android
  • maybe they haven’t tried Kotlin yet and are interested in learning more
  • they love Kotlin and are excited to have another perspective on it


In all of these cases, the intended audience is very supportive; an audience that is going to be interested, forgive mistakes, and generally be much less scary than the scenarios that sometimes pop into my head.

In my experience, the Android developer community has been amazing and I’ve watched as many first-time speakers have gone on to give many wonderful talks with great community support.


I’m learning to lean into the nervousness; to embrace stepping out of my comfort zone and letting myself be seen.  The more of done this in the past year, the more exciting the results have been.

So for now, I’m going to accept the minor freak outs as a sign that I’m on the right track.


Onwards to Boston and Chicago!

. . .


Thoughts or advice on preparing your first conference talk or dealing with imposter syndrome? Comment below or share on social media.  I’d love to continue the conversation.

I love to meet/talk/discuss and help where I can. If you want to chat or ask a question you can follow me on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.

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About Nate Ebel

Husband Fur Dad Software Engineer Runner Geek I aim to cultivate a growth mindset in myself, and others, in hope we can effect positive change in the world.

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