Rex Black will deliver a keynote address at PNSQC 2016. He shared his thoughts on how to make an effective presentation. When Black first began his public speaking career some 20 years ago, he says he battled such problems as stage fright and the anxiety that goes with putting one’s self out there in front of a few hundred people. But over time he improved. Today, he is in demand as a speaker both for the content of his speeches and his delivery of them. His observations on how to improve one’s presentation should prove useful to potential conference speakers.
Stage fright is normal: “When I started, initially I was scared. I’m not an extrovert. As a professional I was never afraid to share my opinion in business meetings with colleagues. But that’s a different environment from standing up there in front of a lot of people who are expecting you to deliver value on a specific topic. So that initial anxiety shouldn’t be too discouraging—most of us experience it.”
Be organized: “I don’t think my mind is that different from a lot of peoples’. Before I wrote my first book, my mind was sort of like a really messy but well stocked garage. Open the garage doors and there are piles of shovels and chain saws and rototillers, lots of stuff. But it was messy. That first book helped me organize my thinking about these software testing. I would strongly advise speakers to sit down and make sure their presentation is well organized and proceeds in a logical fashion.”
Rex Black’s advice to presenters
Rex Black intensely dislikes making cold calls. Despite this, he has built a successful software quality consulting business over the course of the last 22 years. How did he do it? Through a dozen books, many articles, webinars, blog posts and in-person presentations, he shares his thoughts about software quality and testing with the larger world—and the business comes to him.
Black is the founder and CEO of RBCS, a Texas-based consulting company. He will deliver a keynote address at PNSQC 2016 in October. Even though he hasn’t settled on a topic yet, one can be assured his presentation will be controversial and lively, spiced with his ironic sense of humor.
There are many professional, and personal, benefits to getting up in front of an audience of ones’ peers and presenting one’s ideas on a subject of interest to the group. A poor presentation doesn’t advance one’s career, however, Black notes. So learning to be an effective speaker must be a goal of those who want to go down this road.
What are some of the advantages of making a presentation? Black lists three for others who are presenting or are contemplating doing so at conferences like PNSQC.
Public exposure: “One of the major benefits of making a professional presentation is that it gives you exposure before the people you want to reach. Unlike writing a book or an article, you actually meet people. A presentation lets me have a conversation in real time about their specific problem. I can give them ideas and say, ‘This is one of the services we offer.’ It’s the self-initiated cold call. In other words, these people chose to hear me speak or to attend a webinar. I didn’t have to go looking for them.”
The theme of PNSQC 2016 is ‘cultivating software quality’, but what does that mean? Does it mean software quality needs to grow like the tomatoes in my garden? Certainly! But let’s take a closer look at some of the similarities:
1. In my garden I need to break up the soil, and determine the properties of the soil to see what needs to be added, i.e. bone meal, manure, or other forms of augmentation to make the soil suitable for what will be grown. For software quality, a lot of preparation is needed as well. Depending on your deficiencies, you need to evaluate your testers, your software’s risk areas, tooling, amongst many things before you can really embark on the new season.
by Stu Ling
For PNSQC 2015 I chose to use the Concept Paper forum to conduct a survey of test automation practices.
Specifically, I wanted to know what kind of software attendees were testing, what kinds of tests they were performing, how they implemented their tests, and what the motivations … Read more
No one can say PNSQC folks aren’t up for a challenge! At this year’s conference, we asked people to form teams and come up with a solution to the following SQA Challenge:
Automated tests are often accused of being flaky. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they report false failures. Sometimes the problem is with the product being tested and sometimes the problem is with the automated test or the test environment.
So, what can be done to improve the reliability and trustworthiness of automated tests, and efficiently and effectively address automated test flakiness when it does occur?
Your solution to this challenge should be a collection of specific practices, tools, technologies and approaches that produce automated tests that run reliably and produce trustworthy results.
Nine teams stepped up to the challenge, submitting entries that included highly technical guidelines for automated test development to recommendations for how to manage the people involved in testing and development. “All the responses were great,” said Program Committee member Shauna Gonzales “Reading through them, it was obvious that everyone had brought a lot of experience to the table.”
Re: Pacific Northwest Software Quality Conference Proposal
I'm writing to ask for approval to attend the 33rd PNSQC Conference in Portland on Oct 12th through the 14th. A large community of software testing and quality assurance experts will be on hand to share best practices, hands-on training, new innovations, and a lot more.
Here are some other tangible benefits to attending the PNSQC conference
I attended, and participated in (that’s important), a webinar this morning on why most technical (and other) training programs often fail. They don’t take the listener, or “user,” into account.
Join us for a preview of what we have brewing at PNSQC 2015. We have hosted a series of webinars on the following dates to look ahead to the invited talks. Gather some insights, uncover background information, get stoked!
We want to get things percolating in advance of the conference, … Read more
This year, PNSQC is looking to expand the conversation around trends in the industry and hear more about what is on the minds of people in the quality industry. We’re changing the “Poster Paper” name to Concept Papers to better reflect trends, showing how rapid change and emerging technologies often brings up ideas that haven’t existed long enough to have been researched or thoroughly documented yet.
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