Today I leave for Amsterdam, to visit the Dutch PHP Conference where I will be getting my first experience as a conference speaker. It would be fair to say that I'm very nervous - its a high profile event and the other speakers in the lineup are pretty amazing!
When I was invited (or perhaps that should be "volunteered") to speak at this event, I realised that I would need a lot of preparation in order to be able to deliver something like this. I arranged to give short technical presentations at local GeekUp events and went to both Leeds and Sheffield and spoke there. When I had assembled the content of the talk for Amsterdam, I circulated the slides around a few technical colleagues and friends, to make sure that it was accurate and covering sensible material. I was also charmed and excited to have the chance to attend the PHP London User Group meet last week and to give the actual talk there. So, at this point, there is little more I can do to prepare other than attempt not to get too drunk at the pre-conference social on Friday night!
The social side of things is something I'm really looking forward - this conference is organised by my employers, so I'll have the opportunity to meet the developers I work with every day but haven't met yet or don't see often. This in itself I know will be fabulous, although I will certainly forget everyone's names! In addition there will be people I know online from #phpc and of course some members of phpwomen.org as well - we are running a PHP Women stand at the conference and giving out shirts - so if you want one you had better come along and ask nicely :) I am also looking forward to meeting new people that I don't yet know I'm going to meet - so here's hoping for a wonderful time and not too many talk nerves!! To recover I'm staying on in Amsterdam for a few days since I haven't visited the city before, seems like a good opportunity.