A Barry Cranford Aspiring Speakers interview — Andrea Mussap
Our Aspiring Speakers community is something we started which was designed to encourage tech professionals to try public speaking. We have seen many benefits coming from people that have gone down this path and are now looking to pass those benefits on to others. This program is completely free to join and engage with, and is our way of providing mentorship and support to those wanting a safe place to take their first steps. I recently got a chance to interview one of our speakers, Andrea Mussap.
Why did you decide to do a lightning talk?
Because as a non-native English speaker I’m always looking for opportunities to improve my speaking skill, so that I can feel more confident when speaking in English.
What were your expectations going into it?
I’ve given two lightning talks, and I was nervous in both of them. I think that the time, five minutes, is ok because you know that this is the time you have. If someone needs more than that, they should give other types of talks. My expectations were to get more relaxed and confident while speaking publicly, and I think the talks are helping with that.
How did you feel it went, and how did you feel afterwards?
I was proud of myself that I did it. I didn’t feel I was better or worse than I expected; I think I was ok :) The feedback was useful to improve the next talks.
Did you get any expected or unexpected benefits from it?
I didn’t get unexpected benefits. I got expected benefits: that I’m feeling confident to keep doing it. I know that the more I do it, the better I’ll get.
What are the next steps looking like for you?
I’m planning a longer talk, but I’ve been very busy with a personal project, and preparing a talk takes a huge amount of time (at least for me). So I need to have focus, finishing the project I’m working on. When I finish it, I’ll be more relaxed to start preparing a new, longer talk.
Any final words about recommendations for others to do it?
Delivering these short talks, in a safe environment as the LJC (London Java Conference) group, will help you gain or improve your communication skills overall. This isn’t just about delivering talks, but you’ll also get better at talking in a meeting, or to discuss an idea, for example.
Join Andrea and our other members in developing your public speaking skills. The Aspiring Speakers program is part of a network for tech professionals to grow, learn and thrive. Build confidence in a safe environment and learn from fellow professionals who’ve been just where you are.