Saturday 22 Sep, 2018

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Running a MeasureCamp session for the first time

Thinking about doing your first ever talk at MeasureCamp? Grant Kemp remembers his first time and says you can do it too!

For most data people, the thought of standing up in front of a gaggle of strangers with their attention drawn to you is something that most would avoid. At work, it’s different. You are among friends and colleagues, and you are speaking about what you know best. To stand in front of strangers at MC must be a lot harder right??

Well… no. It’s a heck of a lot easier and more rewarding. Here’s what I discovered after delivering my first talk for MC a few years ago.

Measurecamp people are excited about data

The first time I stood up and spoke I admit I was nervous but that dissipated after the first minute when I realised something.

At MC, your audience isn’t made up of people judging you. I looked around and saw friendly and interested faces as I started my talk. It dawned on me that I was speaking to a group of my peers – people like me. Data types who were super keen to learn a bit more about something that they love to do.

Group of people watching Grant Kemp giving a measurement talk

They are an audience who want to hear fun, fascinating, new, and exciting ways to do things with data. They want to have their expectations expanded by learning new things and sharing ideas.

I realised that I could do that with my talk. In fact, everyone could do that as:

  • we all have something unique to contribute,
  • we all have unique perspectives and ideas, and
  • we all come from different backgrounds and have our unique solutions for the challenges we encounter every day.

Some of the people are going to be more experienced than you, and your talk will cement what they are doing is correct. Others will be just starting out, and your talk can open up a whole new world that they didn’t know existed.

This is one of the main reasons that MeasureCamp works as well as it does as a way to learn and develop.

MeasureCamp People enjoy having fun with data

At MC, you have a relaxed atmosphere and a license to have a lot of fun when you talk.

In my talk, I wanted to show off something I enjoy as a geek – the Google Analytics Measurement Protocol. I wanted to show it off with something quite crazy, so I demonstrated how they could use it to measure the TV Show “X-Factor” in Google Analytics.

One of my Slides from my first Measurecamp talk

It turned out there were a lot of other people in the audience who were also interested and enjoyed watching me get geeky with it. There were also those who had never tried it and what I was showing them was akin to black magic.

In the end, I focused on making my talk practical and gave every one of my audience the knowledge, use cases, and tech to go try out measurement protocol on their own and explore it as I did.

Who benefits? You Do!

Hopefully, everyone got some benefit out of the talk, but here’s the real secret. The one who got the most out of it from it was me:

  • I learned a lot more about my tech from having to show it off in a talk
  • I had people come up to me the rest of the day wanting to discuss various aspects or just to thank me for sharing my perspective.
  • I also recall swapping notes with one person in the audience who has subsequently become one of my good friends, and we continue to share ideas, go out socially and collaborate.

Tips for first time Speakers at MeasureCamp

For those of you who are interested in speaking, here are some tips to help you thrive doing an MC talk:

  1. Do it! It will open up new doors for you. It will open you up to new knowledge and a new understanding of your subject.
  2. Give your audience something they can use and try at home. Whether it’s a new tech, a new idea, or sharing your experience of something you found worked well for you.
  3. Prepare as much or as little as you want. I had about 20 slides that I had lying around from a previous talk that I repurposed, but I have seen some engaging workshops where people have just worked off a whiteboard with zero prep.
  4. Relax, and enjoy it – you are amongst your peers and future friends.
  5. If you aren’t sure if your topic would make a good talk, feel free to go up to one of the MC organisers and ask them for feedback or tips. They will always be happy to help.
  6. Most importantly, have fun 😃with your subject. You are there to enjoy yourselves, and others will remember a lot more if you share that enjoyment.

Measurecamp Speaker Card

As data people, we are in our comfort zone with numbers and digits. Graphs are our comfy sofas where we relax and put our feet up and talking about metrics is like a warm blanket for us. After you do your first MC talk, you will discover a new comfort zone. Since I did my first MC talk, I have had opportunities to share my data analytics ideas at conferences, meetups and even for new clients.

By evangelising and sharing what we learn, we can help open up new doors for others, and at the same time open up new opportunities for ourselves. It just takes one brave step to share what you know.

Go on you can do it, we all know you can!

Download a Measurecamp speaker card and make your first step to speaking at MC

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