Speaking at your own user group

I did one of my favorite talks (What’s new in ADO.NET 2.0) for my favorite user group (VTdotNET) last night. This is the 5th time I have done this talk since March and these guys and gals asked me questions that nobody had asked before (and I didn’t always have the answer) as well as made a lot of interesting observations. I learned a lot. I am excited about digging down a little further into ADO.NET. Because of the discussion, the session went way too long, which is fine for me (I can talk about this stuff all day and night) but really not fair to many of the attendees who get tired and can’t absorb any more after a while. The ability to have this type of interaction without a hard time constraint is what is really awesome about speaking at user groups vs. at conferences. But I think I have to figure out how to balance that a little more without having to cut the talk short.

It’s a broad topic with a lot of ground to cover, but I have actually had to do in one hour once. So I know it can be done!!

I got a very nice email from a first time attendee in which he said “It seemed clear to me that the community and the relationships you’ve built, are such that people are keenly interested in each other’s work and in each other’s learning.  From that aspect alone it’s a pretty remarkable users group.”

This is the kind of feedback that really makes being a user group leader extremely rewarding. And I think that all of the members should feel equally proud.

One big lesson that I have to remember: Have someone else be the user group leader for the night. It’s just too hard for me to run the meeting and focus on the talk as well. I needed someone to take care of me, make sure I had water, got fed, run the raffles, prepare and do the business meeting, etc. Next time! (Which may be next month if our tentative speaker, Dr. Neil Roodyn, is not able to trek all the way across the country in between PDC and the MVP Summit.)


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