When presentations go bad

Kate Gregory pointed to a blog post by Microsoftie, Darren Strange, who just plain old had a bad day. An experienced presenter, he was well aware that he was in a downward spiral, but just couldn’t seem to do anything about it. (Probably not as bad as what he describes.) The hardest part about when talks go south is picking up your ego and moving ahead.

I had a horrible conference experience (that I considered confessing to, but decided to keep a little bit of my pride in tact) and not only had to face myself (and my scores, and the people who had so kindly brought me to speak at the conference) but I had to present a week later at another conference, a sizable one, at that. Believe me, I did not want to. Not at all. But of course, I had a commitment to fulfill and I had to work hard to find the courage to go forward with it.

This was really really hard to do. It made me question if I should even be presenting. (Okay, I question that prior to every speaking commitment I have ever made (and after reading one negative eval, even if it’s surrounded by many positive ones).)

My choices were to just go totally dark or turn my bad bad experience into a series of lessons. I thought long and hard about everything that did not go well, the reason for each of these problems and what I was going to do from then on to avoid each and every one of them.

I was also fortunate to have the ears (and the shoulders) of other folks who do a lot of presenting (such as Kate) to pat my poor ego a little and remind me why I present in the first place – because I really love sharing what I have learned.

I stress out prior to every opportunity I have to humiliate myself publically. Wouldn’t you? 🙂 

Susan Wisowaty and Glen Gordon were angels earlier this week when the normally routine (2 minute) installation of Live Meeting that I had inevitably put off (this wasn’t my plan, of course) to only 1/2 hour prior to the GeekSpeak webcast just would not work. Finally I turned off UAC, rebooted my computer, ran the install yet again and was finally ready about 30 seconds before we went live. Those two, who are serious pros, were cool as cucumbers, professing basically that it was “all good” and even if I just talked about ADO.NET without showing any code (and believe me, I could do that for  hours and hours) it would still be fun. Of course, in the end, the event flew by and it was a blast and hopefully it was beneficial for listeners.

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One thought on “When presentations go bad

  1. Julie,I was lucky enough to catch most of the geekspeak event yesterday.Susan Wisowaty and Glen Gordon were great hosts and you did a wonderful job of introducing people to the new ado.net features – there are so many.Your talk has me ready to try the samples myself now, that is after downloading the CTP!Thanks, Jim

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