Whew! One presentation down, one two go. And the first one was my hardest one.

About 75 people attended my Tech Ed Europe presentaion on the Community Server blogging engine and Microsoft.com's Smart Components. About a 3rd of the people who attended gave feedback - in part because I begged and in part because of the Xbox 360 raffle going on for people who do evaluations.

Betsy Rehearses

First let me say for the record - the hall I was in, was huge. When I did sound check ( see photo of me in blue shirt) I actually yelled "Amsterdam, are you ready to ROCK?!!!" and it made sense the way I was miked. I so wanted to be a rock star.

Betsy getting the microphone on (the guy on the right had to help me). Korby Parnell took the photos during the actual presentation.

I was actually better than I expected in terms of sheer nerves at the beginning of my speech. When I practiced in the hotel room it was a full hour and I thought, I really still need to slow down. The problem is, I sped up. The session ended 25 minutes early even with a few questions.

Betsy holds forth

The other thing I realized belatedly is - I am a very American, informal style person under pressure. It's a bad habit that I descend into American colloquialisms under stress, and while I don't think I made a lot of slang faux pas moves in this speech, the fact that my manner was more casual, I expressed my appreciation for folks coming to the session warmly and in a "it's a privilege" way, I think actually worked against me as not being formal enough for European audiences.

In American public speaking the more you leave the podium, the better. In my feedback I got dinged for walking around the stage. (Watch out for that program manager, she's dangerously casual!) The other thing that annoyed me was being called a product manager. I mean really. :)

As a presenter, my scores are running roughly a point behind the average of the speakers for my track. Most of the people presenting are not experiencing their first TechEd speech, and  quite a few people here train or evangelize for a living. Eileen thinks I'm doing ok for my first one, but of course, I wanted to rock the house.

Ah well. I do a Chalk and Talk with Eileen, and then I can start some well-deserved gin and tonics.

Live it vivid!



This last part was edited at night, when I'm winding down after two parties and feeling the intense need to sleep. Yet can't. Damn adrenaline. Even gin is not helping.

The second presentation went really well - Eileen leapt in to lead and I was her "demo dolly" but held my own on philosophical and technical issues around maximizing your blog.  It makes a big difference though that I was co-presenting with her - our scores were a full point above my own solo - and it's due to the fact that Eileen is a goddess and I had warmed up sufficiently by that point to have no fear at all. We had about 25 folks, and a lively discussion (which is what Chalk and Talk is all about). I tried to take notes and gave up, but then Korby came in and I thought was taking notes - but apparently he could only get one paragraph into his blog. Oh well, he went overboard on my presentation before that, so maybe it all evens out.

Have I mentioned Eileen is a goddess of IT? She is.



Next day update:

The session with Eileen apparently took longer to process through the ratings system - we had actually 30 people and our score vaulted to a full point about the average "good" score. As I mentioned, Eileen is a super presenter.

Oh yeah and when I said 75 people attended my breakout? I think I was in shock and denial - it was 170. Just trying not to be scared of it, that's all. Thanks Mr. Kaplan for your words of support. :)

And people did give me above average scores for "knowledge" - so they didn't think I was stupid.