It is now nearly one week since my début on 24 Hours Of PASS and I thought it would be useful for people considering presenting on 24HOP themselves that I write my thoughts on the whole experience. I have also taken the liberty to publish in advance my slide deck (here) whilst I have managed to catch a rare quiet period.
I have been very lucky over the last couple of years to have presented many times to a selection of large and small events around the world and yet as nearly all presenters will tell you, we are always still learning the craft. Every event is a new experience, every delivery is different and perfection is always a distant and impossible dream. So although the prospect of talking to an audience was in itself not a particular problem, the difference in delivery medium, scale and truly International audience meant that the whole ball-game had totally changed.
My biggest concern leading up to the event had been that I would not make a mess of the IBTalk delivery platform. Whilst we had been given an on-line introduction to the interface several days before the date of destiny, I still did not feel confident that I fully understood its intricacies . Luckily, my ominous doubts that things were not going to work meant that I stumbled into my presentation interface several hours beforehand and realised that I could practice (in particular) switching between presentation and demo until I was comfortable. I came across one issue where I couldn’t switch back into my presentation so I ensured that I appreciated how I had gone wrong way ahead of time.
My next concern -and this is always my ongoing and forever permanent worry is that my content was not good enough. Probably for the first time ever for me, before delivering this presentation to a major event I had given derivations of this to a couple of UK user groups. This not only helped me practice what I was going to say to a live audience, but (for me) more importantly let me gauge the importance of certain sections of that material. Whilst I still believe that more changes can be made to improve the presentation, I was now fairly confident that the material would have value to someone.
As the time of my event drew ever nearer I started to worry that I would have connectivity issues and drop out of IBTalk. This was a particularly relevant fear since it had affected at least one of the sessions earlier in the day. In order to minimize this risk I decided to cement all those possible holes of potential failure such as tying back cables so they couldn’t get accidentally pulled or kicked, securing my home hub (again out of my clumsy reach) and banning the use of our broadband for the day for TV streaming and other non 24HOP use. This latter point was very important to eliminate the nefarious and secretive throttling of my network bandwidth by my supplier.
A very good tip that I have picked up simply by watching the mistakes of other on-line presentations in the past is to watch your own presentation on another screen to avoid those occasions where you could speak for minutes on a demo and still be stuck on a slide. I checked first with the IBTalk platform experts to ensure that this would not cause me bandwidth and quality of service issues and was told that it would be fine. Doing this allowed me to realise the times I was going too fast with my talking, slides and demos due to lag but also gave me confidence that I was not making a mistake in the IBTalk interface.
In the end, everything went fairly smoothly and I was very grateful to all the Twitterati for their messages of support and encouragement and hope I am lucky enough that one day I will be presenting another 24HOP session.
If you are interested, my session scores are included at the bottom of this post -I would just like to say a huge THANK YOU to you all since they were far better than I would ever dared imagine.