How to become a speaker: my Kotlin/Everywhere series journey

This article is about my Kotlin/Everywhere journey, how to organize and become a good speaker.

If you don’t know what Kotlin/Everywhere is; At Google I/O 19, Google announced some very big news: Android development will become increasingly Kotlin-first. To help us dive deeper into Kotlin, they announced a new program launched together with JetBrains: Kotlin/Everywhere, a series of community-driven events focusing on the potential of Kotlin on all platforms. And I volunteered to give talks about Kotlin :)

Think about your own story

Your presentation should have a story and a soul. If you have a great story, it keeps the attention of the audience. If you have a story, you speak from the heart and also it is easier to make eye contact. I have an interesting story about how I convinced people to migrate to Kotlin. My story kept the audience’s attention.

Ask for help from the community

Preparing the presentation was a big challenge for me. For the presentation I wanted to make sure I get the simplicity and modern approach of Kotlin across. I wanted to draw comparisons between Java and Kotlin, but I had no idea how to convey the benefits of using Kotlin over Java to my audience. In fact I had no idea who would even be in the audience!

The event series was led by Florina Muntenescu, who reviewed my slides and gave very important feedback in the beginning of the journey. I was super lucky in getting her support!

It is perfectly fine asking for help about the content and also the way you present. I asked help from many public speaker friends to give me feedback.

Announce on GDG Slack channels

In the very beginning, I announced on the GDG UK and Ireland Slack channel that if GDGs are organising a K/E meetup, I would volunteer to visit their city and share my experiences. Soon after I started to receive invitations :)

Create a Google Sheet to track schedule

To help keep track of my hectic schedule I created an excel sheet to make sure I knew where I had to be and when! My Developer Relations Managers Alessandro Palmieri and Noa Havazelet were also there to help and support me at every step along the way. I recorded all data, contact persons, dates and destinations and shared this with my developer relations manager. You can find the Google Sheet link here.

Know when to take a break and as always #familyfirst :)

Giving consecutive talks can be tiring and you should be careful not to burn out. After my third talk, I took a short break and went on my summer holiday. Being fully recharged after my holiday I resumed giving talks every other weekend. I was travelling one weekend and resting and researching about Kotlin the other weekend. It was super productive! I didn’t get bored of travelling or get sick by commuting in the cold weather.

Take it as an opportunity to be asked interesting questions

An important question from an attendee was how one should go about convincing their team to make the switch to Kotlin; as they had tried and couldn’t get their team’s support. I explained that the best way to get your team’s buy in is to simply convince them of Kotlin as an investment: Less crashes, less boilerplate code and a more developer friendly approach will save time and streamline things down the line.

Get to know more GDGs

I have been a GDG member since 2014 and I feel that I have the biggest family in the world. I can just go anywhere and meet friendly and smart GDG members there. It is a great family :) We recorded a short video with GDG friends Tony, Julien, Rosanna and GDE Fellyph. Here is the link for it :)

This journey was very special and educational for me. Looking forward to my next journey! I hope this article inspires GDG friends to give speeches.

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Kubra Harmankaya

Kubra Harmankaya

Android Developer, Entrepreneur, GDG