Back in May, we completed the pilot run of a new program. Mozilla Tech Speakers is designed to empower and support technical evangelists around the world who are serving their communities as speakers and trainers, presenting Mozilla and open web technologies at conferences, workshops, and events. We’ve already posted about the first phase of the program and shared examples of talks and activities from our first cohort of participants.
Not long after that post went up, I learned that Mozilla Rep and Mozillian Tech Speaker Kaustav Das Modak was organizing a Tech Evangelism Workshop with a group of volunteers from Mozilla India’s Bangalore community. Their goal: Work together over a weekend to build confidence and communication skills for technical evangelism. Have each participant finish the weekend with a new presentation and accompanying blog post or article ready to go. The reported results were impressive.
I invited Kaustav to share his activity and its outcome with more Mozillians, who might want to replicate a version of this event in their own communities. The basics apply for all presenters, so you don’t have to be a technologist to find value. Here’s what I learned from Kaustav (in Q & A format):
1) Kaustav, tell us a little about who you are and the work you do as a Mozilla contributor and technical evangelist.
I’m currently working on my start-up, Applait, where we are building a unified layer for real-time communications over the internet.
I’ve been publicly involved with Mozilla a little over 2 years now. Meeting people all over the world and working on open technologies has been my motivation to volunteer with Mozilla.
I’ve always enjoyed sharing what I know with everyone else, since my childhood. My inspiration to pursue technical evangelism as a profession, and then as a passion, came from attending a workshop on technical evangelism conducted by Christian Heilmann, Robert Nyman and Ali Spivak in Bangalore in 2013.
I was involved with the Mobilizers team during the Firefox OS launch, and I try to coordinate community evangelism for Mozilla in India, whenever I can.
2) What inspired you to create this event?
I’ve been planning over a year to conduct workshops to help fellow Mozillians get more confident in presenting themselves. I have helped folks individually all along. But, the Tech Speakers pilot programme finally made me get over the lethargy and actually the start the event. I plan to make this into a series, generating a ton of useful content in the process.
3) Can you share your thinking about the agenda and how you designed it?
The core goal of the Tech Evangelism Workshop is to help participants get better at what they are already good at. Participants are asked to choose a topic in which they think they have sufficient knowledge. Then, through the rest of the workshop, they practice building content around that topic – they give 2 presentations, write a talk abstract and an article.
By the end of the workshop, they realize that they already had the capability within them. The true success of this workshop is to make participants realize that all they needed was to do quality research, better practice and letting go of the shyness within.
4) What advice would you offer for other Mozillians who would like to organize a training/workshop like this to prepare presentations and practice public speaking? Do you have specific advice for technical presenters?
One thing that has always helped is to do your homework. _Nothing_ beats a healthy research. Research your audience and respect cultural differences.
5) What are you planning next? What advice do you have for other Mozillians who want to organize a workshop focused on technical evangelism skills?
I’m already planning for a second run of this workshop. I’m also eager to help any Mozillian who needs help individually. It’s okay to ping me anytime on IRC, my nick is kaustavdm.