The 15th of April, 2018. To you, this may have seemed like any other Saturday but for me it was one of the most nerve-wracking yet also one of the most exhilarating days of my life. Why? I hear you ask. I gave my first ever talk at a conference and at WordCamp London no less.
At 10:50 on that day I gave my talk “Securing SVG Uploads in WordPress” to a reasonably busy room on Track C. My talk covered a brief explanation of what SVGs are, then moved through to XML and SVG vulnerabilities, onto the sanitisation side of things and then finally how we can integrate this into WordPress.
“You can never have enough practice beforehand”Daryll Doyle
The subject of the talk is quite a niche one, so whilst I was surprised that I got chosen to talk at all, I was just as surprised to see people filtering into the room to get listen to me with 5 minutes to go. Nevertheless 10:50 came around and it was time for me to start.
To say I wasn’t nervous would be a lie, not only had I never spoken at a conference before but I also wasn’t sure how the subject would go down and this specific talk was quite technical. That said, I made my start and worked my way through the slides.
The content seemed to go down well, although my delivery could have been improved upon and I finished my talk around 5 minutes earlier than I’d planned, 25 minutes into a 40 minute slot. Not to worry though, the ever helpful WordCamp MCs jumped into action and took charge of the room, facilitating a very useful Q&A session where I felt a lot more at ease.
After around 35 minutes the session was called to a close and people started to move towards their next talk, although I had some very good discussions after the Q&A had ended. That was it, I’d finished my talk and I could relax.
Looking back on it now there are a few things that I will remember for next time I give a talk:
1. You can never have enough practice beforehand
2. Don’t forget to drink water (it’s surprising how dry your mouth gets)
3. Slow down your talking
4. Don’t worry, people are there because they want to listen to you
5. Enjoy it!
Ultimately, I really did enjoy giving this talk and will definitely be applying to talk more in the future.
I’d like to thank WordCamp London and it’s organisers for giving me this opportunity, the WordCamp volunteers for being amazingly helpful and calming my nerves so much before, during and after my talk and of course the attendees for wanting to hear what I have to say.