My first public talk

I still remember the day during my engineering days, when I was standing in front of my college classmates and professors to give a seminar on my favorite topic at that time, “Kidding with .exe and .com files”. The talk was about how you can hack and edit binary files to change the conditional logic! Though I was very passionate about the topic and prepared with the content, I had immense stage fright, I was trembling and sweating a lot, there were two fans blowing air on me to cool me down, friends were cheering and supporting me, but somehow my thinking ability had vanished and I was at loss of words. The very fact that so many people were looking at me, was killing me. I just couldn’t talk. I had failed myself and my friends.

Heck, that was 15 years ago…

I wanted to get over my stage fright and I was looking for opportunities. I started with conducting small training sessions at IDeaS.

My first big opportunity came in year 2006 when “Unknown Waters” had organized “Expressions”, a theme based cultural competition for IT companies in Pune, in which I got a chance to play two small roles. I was determined to get over my stage fright. Since we all were new to acting, our director Mukund Wangikar creatively created smaller roles for everyone. That worked very well for us. We practiced hard and with fantastic team work we managed to get 2nd Prize in this competition.

We were high on confidence and in 2007 I got my second big opportunity to play the character of a “ghost”. This was a bigger role. Both these plays where hosted in big auditoriums in Pune “Bharat Natya Mandir” and “Yashwantrao Chavan Natyagruha” respectively.

A glimpse of our performance for year 2007 is available at

Participating in a drama and facing a large set of audience was a mind blowing experience.

In the mean time, at IDeaS, I kept getting opportunities of conducting training sessions and giving presentations to smaller audience. The ShipIt program gave a nice platform for all of us to face audience and to present our ideas in about 5 to 10 minutes. This platform gives us good practice to work on our “Elevator Pitch” skills.

On 4th and 5th Sept 2014, I attended Selenium Conf 2014. In this conference, two of my colleagues gave a talk on “Selenium DeTox for Achieving the Right Testing Pyramid” along with Naresh Jain. To me, though I was just part of the audience, it was a fascinating experience. I thought conferences are such a nice platform to share your thoughts, experiences and learn more. I wished to be there on the stage to share my thoughts…

Naresh had seen my work “On a quest of reducing Jenkins build time.” He suggested me if I can share my experience at Agile Pune 2014 as he thought it would make a nice topic. So there I went, I wrote my first proposal “Techniques to Speed Up your Build Pipeline for Faster Feedback.” and my wish came true as the proposal got accepted for Agile Pune 2014. I was so happy, I had got what I wished. This was going to be my first public talk! But now I was nervous, I had not given a public talk before.

I admire TED talks and TED speakers. They simply fascinate me. As I started thinking about my talk and the opportunity that I had got, I wanted to give the best of me. To my luck, I came across a book “Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds“, which changed the way I thought about giving presentations/talk. I believe that all those who aspire to give talks, presentations, this book is a must read!

I started working on my presentation for this talk based on the concepts I learnt. Naresh helped in giving the finishing touches and also gladly agreed to be my co-presenter. I spent a lot of time in front of the mirror rehearsing my presentation. Ravi Bahl and Suman Nair gave me very valuable feedback which helped me improve on my presentation skills. Before the actual talk, I got a chance to practice on my presentation skills at TechJam.

TechJam is a non-profit initiative to build a community of techies, who are interested in learning and exploring new technologies and is currently hosted by IDeaS Pune, courtesy Naresh Jain.

On the day of conference, 22nd Nov 2014, I was a bit tense as I wanted to give my best shot. As the session approached, I started getting little butterflies in my stomach. The prior presentation got over a bit early which bought me enough time to setup and be ready for our presentation well before time. Before the actual talk started, Naresh Jain, being a seasoned player, helped me getting calm and comfortable by cracking jokes and making me laugh and simile while we were standing on the stage and facing the audience that was slowly gathering. It helped me a lot in giving my very first talk. This time, I was not trembling, the butterflies and the goose bumps had vanished, my thinking ability was with me and the words were flowing well. I think it went really well.

Video –

Slides –

I am looking forward for many more opportunities to share and learn. I have now got an opportunity to give two talks at Agile India 2015 Conference. I am looking forward for my talks on

Gamifying Agile Adoption – An Experiment

Techniques to Speed Up your Build Pipeline for Faster Feedback.