Why I love my job

When I was just starting out in my career a very wise person told me:

“The day you find a job you love, is the last day you’ll ever have to work.”

For me, that day was the day I discovered public speaking.

And for the past decade I’ve made my living doing almost nothing apart from standing in front of an audience and telling them stuff.

Of course, I still code every day…just not for pay. I’ve also done quite a bit of design over the past ten years, but again not for any direct remuneration. It’s teaching and presenting and keynoting that pays the bills and, conveniently, it’s those three activities that I enjoy above all.

So I guess it isn’t surprising that my very favorite presentation, my very favorite thing to teach…is Presentation Skills. Apart from the delicious recursiveness of it1, I truly believe that teaching people how to be more confident, better organized, more communicative, and hence more effective in front of an audience is some of the most important work I ever do. Certainly it seems to inject more good in the world than almost anything else I spend time on2.

I usually only get the chance to help people become better presenters at conferences (where I’m often asked to run a workshop for the speakers). It’s a rare treat to be able to offer the same class to a more general audience. Which is precisely what we’re doing in London in two weeks time: FlossUK is organizing a public rendition of my Presentation Aikido class.

So, if you find you’re terrified of standing in front of an audience, if you dread being asked to deliver a coherent presentation on your area of expertise (or, worse, on your area of non-expertise), or if you actually love speaking in public but simply wish you were better at it, then I’d encourage you to sign up for my class on April 16th.

Let me share my passion for presentation with you, and—more pragmatically—let me teach you all the theory and techniques and tools and even some of the tricks I use to make my presentations as entertaining and as informative as I possibly can.

Let me show you how I do what I love.
And why I love what I do.

PS: If you’re reading this because your interested in presentation skills, but you have no idea who I am, or why I might think I could teach people how to present better…well, hi there! Thanks for reading this far.

And, no, I certainly don’t expect you to take my word for it. Instead, see here and here and here and here and here and maybe even here.

Okay, so it’s true that I do have extremely compromising photos of most of those people (beating children, orphaning widows, voluntarily coding in C++, reading “Twilight” non-ironically, etc.), but I really am also quite good at what I do. And good at teaching others to do it as well.

1When publicly speaking about public speaking I sometimes find it necessary to publicly speak about publicly speaking about public speaking. At which point I’m always tempted to speak publicly about speaking in public about publicly speaking about public speaking. At which point my head explodes.

2Not just the direct good it does for the attendees themselves, but also the greatly magnified good it does for entire audiences if even one student goes away and can subsequently deliver a tighter, more relevant, more interesting, and more entertaining presentation that doesn’t suck.


Let me second this. I've been to several talks by Damian Conway and you'd be a fool to miss them. They're fantastic.

I attended Damien's Perl Best Practice course at the YAPC in Lisbon a couple of years ago, which was great. I managed to persuade work to book me on the FlossUK Presentation Skills tutorial next Monday and am very much looking forward to it.

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About Damian Conway