Speaking in public needs a desire to share knowledge, to entertain and to motivate people into thinking more about the message you are trying to get across. Not everyone either wants or is capable of doing this but there are too many people who ‘think’ they can’t do it but have a great story to tell and without guidance are a massive loss to their field.

Up until my middle teenage years, the thought of standing up and speaking in front of people filled me with horror. I wasn’t even very keen on ‘one to one’ conversations because I didn’t really think I had anything to say. Then, for some reason I fell into hospital radio presenting and became a mobile disc jockey and discovered that ‘performing’ in front of people was actually quite a buzz. It’s true what they say – once the buzz gets you, you just cant get enough of it!

I had been developing my career and knowledge in the testing industry and was approached to see if I might speak at a conference, passing on some of my experiences and ideas around testing. I jumped at the chance and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. That was over 25 years ago…. Since then I have regularly been speaking at conferences worldwide both as a track and keynote speaker along with presenting at schools, universities and private companies.

I think speaking has raised my profile in my industry and I love to strategise and discuss new ideas and methodologies. My biggest concern is that I see too many people speaking who aren’t saying anything new at the same time as speaking to many people with great ideas who are either ‘too scared’ of speaking or don’t really know how to go about it. This mentorship programme is really needed to help develop the next generation of speakers and from a personal point of view, I am very honoured and excited to be part of this.