• BSides Manchester Video and Inner Monologue

    Bsides MCR an inner monologue
    Another year another Bsides. I guess it’s one reason to visit the grimness that is Manchester. I better use the drive up to think of some witty lines as I’m the compere again.

    Ian Glover – Keynote
    Ian says he’s been in the industry for about 40 years… Must resist urge to introduce him as Danny Glover and have him open with, “I’m too old for this sh*t!”

    I forgot to take my selfie!

    Ian’s making some good points. I don’t necessarily agree with all of them – but good points all the same.
    Paul Johnston
    The room is half as full as it was for the keynote. But I’ll take my selfie all the same. Next year I should take it to the next level and bring my selfie-stick.DSC_0093

    Paul really knows his static code analysis. Oh look, I have a Veracode pouch sticker thing on the back of my phone… it must be a sign. Not sure what it is though.

    Coffee break
    Oh I really needed that coffee.

    Someone came up to me and asked if I was the guy from the CISSP video… omg omg omg. Need to keep cool – still don’t know how to react when a stranger says they’ve seen my video. He did follow up with a comment about how I look shorter in real life. Now I know how Tom Cruise feels!

    James Kettle
    I believed this was going to be a BurpSuite talk – actually a really good talk on server side template injection.
    Hmm food
    Ben Turner, Dave Hardy
    Hope they didn’t mind me introducing them as Turner & Hardy. Although, a lot of the younger attendees probably have no idea I was drawing a parallel to Laurel & Hardy.

    The talk was no joking matter though. Really good insights into PowerShell… and they done the clever thing by recording the demos.
    Jim Slaughter
    Wonder if he’s ever been a Sergeant?

    Great deconstruction of phishing campaigns and tools. Some of these attackers are proper hardcore.

    Kuba Sendor
    Mac OSX forensics & analysis. It’s really well delivered but a bit beyond me. Ooh look Matt left his phone on the table – let me take a duckface selfie – haha I’m so funny.

    Oh crap, he’s posted that on twitter and now everybody is making fun of my selfies… bad move!

    William Knowles
    Why choose an academic to close?

    Hold on – he’s actually really good and has kicked off a ton of debate amongst the attendees.

    Where’s my popcorn?

    Wow – that was a great ending to a fun-filled day.

    It’s 6pm… if I get some caffeine, get to my car and put my foot down, I may get home before the kids fall asleep.

  • 10 tips for rookie speakers

    I’ve had the pleasure and honour of mentoring a couple of people through their first rookie talk experience at Bsides. Through this process, I probably ended up learning more about the process than the speaker. These are 10 rookie commandments I somewhat developed through the process:

    1. Start with why
    People speak at conferences for many different reasons. Sometimes it’s to overcome the fear of public speaking, achieve that notch on their CV, use it as a platform to kick-start a speaking career and so on and so forth.

    I do believe it’s important to have a reason and to bear that in mind when preparing your talk. Speaking just for the sake of speaking usually isn’t a good idea as it doesn’t provide that focus that is needed. As the saying goes, you can’t score without a goal.

    Share your objective with your mentor – they should help you keep on track.

    2. Mentor-Mentee relationship
    It’s important for both mentor and mentee to commit to the relationship. Everyone is busy and has their own work schedules – but it’s important that you interact early and often.

    The precise nature of the relationship will vary. Sometimes a first-time speaker needs assistance with a broad range of tasks – other times they just need someone to bounce ideas off.

    It is very tempting for a mentor to impart their style of delivery onto a mentee. That shouldn’t be the case – rather a good mentor should help nurture the style and delivery that is best-suited to the speaker.

    3. Know your topic
    Deciding about what topic to present on can be a bit of a dilemma. As a first time speaker, you may want to drop some awesome 0-day or release some cool bit of research and start off your speaking career with a bang.

    That can work for some people. But for most – I’d recommend choosing and sticking to a topic you’re very familiar with. There is a lot to think about and concentrate on when delivering your first talk – having to worry about a new topic is additional stress you probably don’t need.

    4. Keep it simple
    Simplicity is key to delivering a good talk. Make sure the structure flows in a logical and easy-to-understand manner. I like to break a talk down into a typical beginning/middle/end structure.

    The added benefit of keeping it simple and on a topic you’re familiar with is that it becomes really easy to answer any qustions that may be thrown your way.

    5. Practise
    It’s important to practise your talk – get familiar with the flow and the order of the content. One of the most useful exercises I find is speaking it out loud. It can be a weird sensation hearing your own voice out loud so the more you practise the more natural you’ll sound… and not get out of breath.

    6. Slides
    I only start pulling together my slides once I’m happy with my content and flow. I know some people who start it earlier so find a way that suits you best.

    The important thing to remember is that the slides are there to support your talk and add context to it. They aren’t meant to be the entire talk transcript of be overly distracting.

    Try sticking to a clean and simple style that is easy to read. If you can get hold of a projector or big screen, see how your slides look.

    7. Move
    Moving around the stage will help you generate some energy and engage all parts of the audience. It can be tempting to ‘hide’ behind the podium and deliver your talk from there. If you’ve practised your talk and are familiar with the flow, this should be no problem. You don’t have to spend your entire talk pacing up and down the stage – but walking out every now and then to reinforce points can help build confidence.

    8. Inject your personality
    Don’t be afraid to be yourself up on stage. If you think to some of your favourite speakers, you get to see their personality shine through. Throw in some personal stories, anecdotes and share some feelings. It will help connect you and the audience.

    9. Interact
    One of the biggest advantages speaking on stage has over all other mediums through which you can impart knowledge (blog, whitepaper, video, podcast etc.) is the fact that you can interact with the audience.

    The feedback you get is immediate and honest. When you make a statement you can judge from the body language whether people are agreeing or not with you. Sometimes they’ll laugh at your mild attempts at humour and sometimes they’ll get defensive when you expose an uncomfortable truth.

    Feel free to ask people for feedback, questions and if you feel like the interactive Q&A is providing value don’t be afraid to go off script.

    10. It won’t be perfect
    Your first talk will never be perfect. You’ll realise you spoke too fast or too slow. Parts which you thought you could deliver with the smoothness of Morgan Freeman will stumble out. The Steve Jobs style pause just made you looked confused or you lost control of a heckler.

    These are a natural part of any talk. I’ve spoken numerous times and I’m never happy with how I perform. The important thing is to learn from these experiences and improve every time.

    A useful way is to have your mentor and maybe another trusted friend listen through your talk and give you honest feedback about what did or didn’t work well and how you can improve it.