I Gave a Talk In-Person For The First Time


I delivered a talk to students in my old high school, this was my first time talking in front of a large audience in person, as up to this point, a lot of the stuff I had done was online due to covid!

Published on December 14, 2021 by Amy Elliott

Volunteering Presenting A Lecture/Talk

6 min READ

This is a legacy post, ported from my old portfolio. If you notice a mistake or a bug, please report it here.


My younger brother is still in school, and he attends the same high school which I used to go to a few years ago, and recently, my dad informed me of a section in the school newspapers that mentioned video games and the games industry!

This was really good news, and it made me really happy as when I was in high school, the gaming industry wasn’t mentioned at all! This was something I previously wrote about, and how if I had known more about the industry, I may have been interested in it sooner than I was.

As I really want to help to get more diverse and younger audiences interested in games development, I decided that I wanted to go into the school and explain to students how much fun games development is! – And that’s exactly what I have done!

In this blog, I talk about my approach and more reasons as to why I wanted to do this.


Event: Highschool Industry Talk
Date of event: November 2021


How This Would Help Me

I’ve got many future goals that I want to reach, and the only way I can reach them is by working toward them! So doing this makes me one step closer to those goals!

I’m a big fan of watching talks at games conferences, like conferences at Develop Brighton or Game Developers Conference which talk about interesting subjects, so one day I hope that is something which I can do, as I would love to research, share, and develop knowledge with many people who like the same thing as me! And having skills like speaking and confidence in front of audiences would allow me to deliver meetings or news well in more senior positions in the games industry!

These talks at conferences are usually done in front of really big audiences, and that’s one thing I’ve never really done much of before if we don’t count school talent shows… or anything of that nature - A classroom isn’t the size which a conference would be, but it’s almost there!


Finding a Subject To Talk About

Target audience is really important when it comes to picking what subject you want to talk about, and I didn’t really have much to go off of except that I would be talking in a business-related lunchtime session, and a computing class, so that means 2 different audiences, which are probably around 14 – 17 years old. I didn’t really know how long either of these sessions was either, so I assumed around an hour.

Previously I’ve covered similar content with similarly aged students when I’ve mentored online, but usually, with these mentoring sessions, there was a subject already decided and I had to make my sessions and PowerPoints around them, so it was a bit harder to choose for this, but I eventually decided that I should talk about the different tech roles in the games industry, but simplify it, as I was trying to think of the kinds of things I would like to hear about as a student in their shoes.

I began to make the PowerPoint and added plenty of pictures and explanations to make sure it was as interesting as possible and made sense to someone who doesn’t know much about the games industry.


Delivering The Subject

The day had come!
I stepped back into my old high school, signed in as a visitor and got a visitor lanyard, and headed up to the class.

There were loads of students, they even had to move the session into a bigger classroom! The entire classroom had every desk filled with students, and these students were of different ages too, it was hard to tell but I knew there was a mixture of sixth formers and students in uniform. My little brother was even there!

I was nervous at first, I’ve talked to large audiences online, but in person, it is completely different, you can see everyone’s face and they’re not behind their profile picture on Zoom or Teams!

I remember reading that it’s easier to engage audiences if you interact with them, and so that’s the first thing I did before I started anything.

I asked each student in the classroom what their favorite game was! The answers ranged from Roblox, Minecraft, Fortnite, and Call Of Duty – These answers are answers I was expecting as it is the type of games which teenagers like playing with their friends, as they’re cooperative games, and I mentioned the commonality to them.

And then I began to talk about the different tech roles in the games industry.

I had to remember to keep eye contact, not to slouch, and to project my voice! – And once I got going it wasn’t that bad! It even almost overran!

I feel like I may have been talking too much throughout the presentation, looking back now, I wish I had asked the students more questions throughout the PowerPoint or even left some time at the end so they can ask me questions! I’m happy that I’m aware of this now, so I would be able to make sure I leave time for questions when I next do something like this!

The next session I had to talk in was the computing class, and there wasn’t really a plan for this, so the teacher asked me to talk about how team projects are managed in tech roles, and so I explained the tools used and the way games are managed with sprints to the students.


Conclusion

Through delivering a talk in person at my old high school, I was able to test my speaking skills, confidence, and presentation in front of larger audiences, I was able to push through any nervous feelings I had when I got in front of the class.

I’ve also learnt about how I could’ve improved what I delivered by asking more questions to engage the audience with the subject. Things I could’ve done was ask questions about what role they think they would like to do and why, and ask questions about what their favorite mechanics are within their favorite games and break down how they might work!

Overall, I’m really proud of myself for getting closer to my goals, and I hope to do more of this in the future.