Vandana Verma

Security Leader

My Manifestation of InfoSec Speaking

Speaking at any Conference is a savoir faire itself. Most often I am asked when and how to start the Infosec speaking journey. My answer to them is fundamental: there is no juncture pre-defined for it. There is no age or qualification criteria to speak at any conference.

I started my journey by speaking at the local meets. Local meets gave me the platform to share my knowledge with a wider audience. It’s one of the best places to start and connect with the crowd as well as address the questions coming thereafter. I was absolutely nervous delivering my first talk at a meetup. Although I had delivered multiple sessions within my organisation,I still hesitated from making eye contact with the audience. My first session was on information security news bytes, the topic was very simple as I just had to look up the latest infosec news from the various news sources, however it was not so easy for me to speak with a loose assemblage of diverse groups of people. The only thing that bothered me constantly was what if I said something wrong. Eventually, I kept on giving talks on various topics, and everytime I spoke at a meet or a conference, it made me more confident.

Over the years by speaking at multiple conferences, I learnt various things which in my opinion, we should keep in mind while we are preparing to speak at an event.

Everyone has a unique perspective to offer on any topic. We need to determine if our research is genuine, a differentiator for the audience or relevant for the conference or its attendees, then go about it confidently.

Now as far as conferences are concerned, to step into any of these, we need to first submit the Call For Papers (CFP’s). The CFP process will require one to include an abstract and title of the talk. Abstract is nothing but a short summary (200- 500 words) of what we want to showcase or share with the audience. If required, the review committee may ask you for more pointers. Abstract should be structured in a way to give a clear picture about what can be expected from the talk and get the audience excited about it. Once the paper gets selected, the review committee sends a confirmation or acceptance email and then there we go, all set for the speaking at the conference of interest.

One thing I do before any talk is practice the talk with multiple people and talk it out multiple times.

There is no better feeling than being on the stage and successfully delivering a talk especially when we are reticent or nervous in the beginning.