Usually, the new year brings with it a lot of hope, resolutions, newfound motivation, and positivity about the year ahead. So it may seem a little strange to start the year off on a reflective note.
But I did something big at the end of last year. Something that I want to reflect on, I want to revisit. I’d really like to hash out the experience and squeeze all the lessons out of it.
By now, you may already have had a chance to see my WordCamp US talk. If not – hop to it!
I’m really happy with how the talk went, but I don’t want the experience to end there. I want to use it as a stepping-stone, as an opportunity to develop and grow. And that means reflecting on what went well, and asking some hard questions about what could be even better next time.
So let’s start with the positive. What am I happy that I did?
- Used Twitter. I am not usually a big fan of Twitter. I just find it hard to cut through the noise. But in an event like WordCamp, using the event’s hashtag to hone in on conversations is an amazing way to enhance the experience of being there.
- Had something to give away. The sponsors of WordCamp had loads of swag that they were giving away – I came home with t-shirts, mugs, pens, pins, and a whole host of other stuff. But (as far as I know) I was the only speaker that gave something away.
- Went to parties and meet ups. One of the best things about speaking at WordCamp was the speaker and volunteer event the night before WordCamp started. The event was great, and helped to break some ice with the people I was going to be spending the next few days with. I also went to a GenesisWP meet up, and to the official afterparty. All were great opportunities to connect with amazing, like-minded people. Yay!
And now… what can I do differently next time?
- Smile more. I feel like a pretty happy person, so when I first saw the video of my talk, I was a little disappointed that I pulled so many weird faces, and not many of them were smiles! On that note, I also could have said “um” (and other “filler” words) less. I think this just comes with practice, so I’d like to aim to be more relaxed and happy next time, and don’t fear the silence.
- Go to contributor day. I really regret this one. After the two days of “WordCamp proper” sessions, there is a contributor day, where tables are set up for working on WordPress core, translations, training, and many other functions of the open source project. When I was booking my trip to WordCamp, I had that familiar impostor syndrome of feeling like I wasn’t good enough to be attending contributor day. Because what did I have to contribute? Ironic, isn’t it, considering the nature of my talk?? But once I was actually there, I found that the community so welcoming and inclusive, that I’m sure I could have contributed in some way. And it would have been great to connect with people in a different way. Ah, well. Next year!
- Go to more of the parties and events. I really wanted to go to a party on the Friday night, but I was just getting over the flu and was so tired. I wanted to be at my best when speaking the next morning, so I decided that I needed to give the party a miss. So I wish I had been feeling better and could have really gotten the most out of the experience of having so many amazing WordPress people being in the same place at the same time.
Overall, though, I got a huge buzz from speaking and attending WordCamp US. I’m now totally hooked on WordCamps, and I want to go to as many as possible!