Using your voice better

How speaking to other people can help you become a better developer

The lost art of talking

When we are babies we are desperate to communicate, this is usually through crying, noises and so forth. This occurs when a baby is as little as one month old, depending on which studies and research you agree with:

However despite the fact that we now have the power to talk and communicate with more people than ever we as an industry are losing the willingness to talk unless forced to.

This is not the best segue I've ever written, so apologies, so what does prevent us...


The Introvert

A shy, reticent person.
From Psychology A person predominantly concerned with their own thoughts and feelings rather than with external things.

The above extract is the definition taken from the Oxford English Dictionary Online, and I suspect there are a number of people reading this article who might describe themselves this way you can find out where you score on tests like these.

With regards to speaking, people often say it's fear of failure and rejection that prevents them from speaking up. This is often as a result of schooling practices and social interactions where failure is seen as bad rather than a good thing)

So how do we change this and why should we.

If you have been to one of the recent Umbraco Festivals you may have seen Niels (chief Unicorn) talk about the mission of Umbraco:

We help you deliver delightful digital experiences by making Umbraco friendly, simple and social

What this translates into is we need to concentrate on the things our clients and potential customers want and need.

Whether it’s a simple interface, or a complex system, it is the moments of delight when you make something easier and that means being able to talk and understand what a client actually wants.

A recent example i saw was an OffroadCode example using the datatype description in a fun and friendly way (thanks to Janae and OffroadCode for letting me use this)


So how can speaking make me more money

and no I am not talking about the after dinner speech tour though that is very lucrative


By talking to customers and understanding (well, trying to work out what they want to do), you will unlock the portal to:


No, you are more likely to be able to:

  • Interpret what a user wants or has a problem with
    • to deliver a more tailored solution
    • deliver what they need rather than what they say they want because you understand what they are actually trying to do
  • you can build better systems,
  • solve issues quicker
  • avoid confusion with specifications.
  • you will get more work
  • stop projects running off the rails because there is a disconnect between the client and the specification of the job (a re-skin is not the same a rebuild (this has happened to me many times))
  • better product design (through better customer understanding). On this last point, it's also worth making sure you don't always discount the dissenting voice. Sometimes what you think is an improvement is not (I'm looking at you SourceTree)

By being able to do this because you can talk to people in meetings (or individually) will make you more valuable. Because time = money and less time wasted is more money earned

Don't be a Martyr, talk out your problems


Asking for help can mean many things. It could can mean using an inanimate object, however I like using real people that way you can often get a different perspective and a better route to complete you task

It's the same process when you talk to someone except the rubber duck won't talk back (if your duck does talk, it's very strange).


Channels of communicating

Obviously talking to people is the most obvious way of communicating, but we have more tools than ever to make contact with people than ever before so make sure you use them

There are numerous slack channels:

There is the forum

There are numerous twitter users and you can search for the #umbraco hashtag

There are various other internet messaging services some are even dedicated to cat pictures alone if you need a quick cheer up:

Getting better at speaking

The best way is to practice - there are any number of books on Amazon or other retailers which can give you advice

How to be brilliant at public speaking:

Talk Like Ted: Speaking Secrets:

Where can I practice?

Rather than diving directly into the world of open mic nights and after-dinner speaking, we have a number of other friendlier options available to us to get this practice.

Find a Local Umbraco meet up and socialise
Get to know the people, get comfortable. There is no pressure and no expectation and then do a demo or maybe a short talk

The Umbraco newsletter has a list of the various and growing number of groups: has the upcoming festivals and the monthly email does too

Then you can work up to speaking at one of these fine events:

Uk Festival usually around late October Early November

uWestfest 2017 Denver



Umbraco festival Deutschland

Maybe we see you on stage eventually at


Want to find out more about getting the best from being an introvert (props to Erica Quessenberry @reddesigns for introducing me to this book)

The Introvert Advantage

Find More of Tom Lewis cool art :

Hello My Name is Ravi

I’m an Umbraco web developer, Umbracco community MVP & you may recognise me from running the London Umbraco meetup, or as the person who was dunked fully clothed into a hot tub, worn a giraffe suit and been part of a breadcrumb code challenge where I was electrocuted. When I am not doing my day job, I can normally be found around East London looking for people to speak at meetups.

Ravi Motha

Ravi is on Twitter as