Sincerely, Evan.

Reflections: WordCamp KL 2019 and emceeing

WordCamp KL happened last weekend on the 1st-2nd November. It was my first-time attending a WordCamp and I also happened to be in the organising team. Having attended weekly e-meetings for the past 7 months of planning, I got insider news about everything that was going on for WordCamp KL 2019. I learnt so many things from event-planning, to enrichening my soft skills and getting to know the local WordPress community. During the planning phase of the event, I had the role as a blogger who wrote posts for the WordCamp KL 2019 website and I emceed during the event day.

WordCamp KL 2019 was a one-day informal conference centered around all things WordPress. This year’s WordCamp is the third WordCamp organised by the WordPress KL Meetup group and with over 275 participants, this WordCamp KL has seen the biggest number of participants compared to the previous years. WordCamp KL 2019 was held at Berjaya Times Square Hotel. A WordPress Contributor Day preceded the main conference day, having take place on 1st November, a day before the main event. The Contributor Day was a casual get-together and sharing session on how to give back to WordPress. There were also two workshops conducted by two speaker who were also going to speak in the conference the next day.

I first got to know about WordCamp during a WordPress KL Meetup in Cyberjaya. Shortly after this meetup, the organisers were recruiting for WordCamp KL organizing team. I registered to be part of the team. I had not been very familiar with WordPress at that time and so I thought this could be a good opportunity to get to know more about WordPress. When I did get accepted to be part of the team, I chose the role as blogger. I had not been familiar with the process and flow of WordCamp so I opted for a simpler role as a blogger. Then there was the event day task delegations. I had been assigned the role as emcee. I had second thoughts about this as I’ve had my speaking-on-stage fiascos in the past. I accepted the role in the end, after having considered it yet another opportunity to improve my public speaking skills.

I was really anxious in the days leading up to WordCamp. I have emceed for two events before but they were smaller events held in campus. I was told to be jovial, engage a casual conversation with my co-emcee on the stage and make the audience feel at ease. This was a huge deal to me. I can do formal but I’ve never known to be good with impromptu. At moments I thought I never should have accepted the emcee role. But I didn’t know how to turn down the offer especially knowing that my job as the blogger was pretty simple compared to the jobs of the other organizing team members. I tried to console my restless soul saying that this was an opportunity.

I had an abrupt headstart to emceeing for WCKL during Contributor Day itself. Sam, the lead organizer, called me up in front and told me to introduce the speakers for the workshops. I was feeling a little bit nervous as I was unprepared. I simply pulled out my phone and started reading out the speaker’s bio that have previously been uploaded to the website. I welcomed the speaker, passed the mic and shyed back to my seat. It felt a bit awkward for me but I was not feeling extremely embarrased about myself. This provided me some exposure on emceeing for the next big day and I came home and prepared for the next day, feeling a bit more confident.

On the day of the conference, I met my co-emcee, Matt, who was also speaker. Matt was friendly and exuded a good speaker persona. He sensed my nervousness during our short rehearsal and tried to assure me that it’s going to be okay. Matt told me to think of the words that I want to say next and not focus on what people might be thinking about me. The advice helped me overcome my stage-fright but I lacked flow in the introduction I made. I thought too hard and too long on the words I wanted to say next. After Matt called Sam up the stage to give the opening remarks, it was my turn to go to the second conference hall where track 2 of the conference was to take place. There, I introduced each session and speaker and ended each session and announced breaks in between. After the first two sessions I was starting to get the hang of it and it didn’t seem too bad afterall.

I am grateful to have been a part of WordCamp KL 2019. Up until I got into the organising team for WCKL’19, I was only involved in organising campus events under IT Society. WCKL’19 helped me to get to know so many friendly speakers from around the globe, fellow organizers who showed me what it means to be a good team player, and opportunities that helped me to work on my soft skills. Being involved in WCKL’19 was also a unique kind of experience for me as I found myself working with many adults. It was hard to find another fellow undergrad around. I was also the only girl in the organising team. Although my contributions were not much, these experiences surely helped bolster my confidence to take on more challenges in the future and hopefully, the courage to contribute more in time to come.

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