Moves Like Jagger – my 24HOP baptism

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.

This entry was posted in Events, Personal Development, SQLServerPedia Syndication and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Moves Like Jagger – my 24HOP baptism

  1. David Dye says:

    Awesome job Mark!!

  2. Congratulations on the presentation, Mark! You rocked your presentation. I did this upgrade presentation last year for TechDays Canada and had prepared 2 sets of slides – one for delivery and one for handouts. Unfortunately, the one that was loaded for my presentation was the handout version and since they’re recording it, I couldn’t use the delivery version of my slides. I should have given you my delivery slides prior to your 24HOP session 🙂

    Delivering presentations in a webcast format is always a challenge. When I found out that I will be doing my first 24HOP presentation last year, the first thing that I did was to practice delivering my presentation and recording it via LiveMeeting. This gave me a feel of what it is to deliver a presentation in front of an audience that I can’t even see. I remember taping pictures of faces in my home office and pretended talking to them while delivering my presentation. After rehearsing, I started contacting several user groups and offered them the opportunity to host a meeting and have the speaker – me – via online media such as GoToMeeting and LiveMeeting. This gave me more opportunities to practice, refine and be comfortable delivering presentations online. The IBTalk platform was no exception to this that I had to rehearse days before and minutes before my session started. Preparation is always key to a great delivery.

    BTW, the recording is available here.
    http://www.techdays.ca/contentlibrary/video/en/2011-upgrading-to-microsoft-sql-server-2008-r2-and-sql-server-2012-a-comprehensive-look.aspx

    • retracement says:

      Thank you! I really appreciated your support on the day and your comments since. It went far better than I thought it would but know the material (and delivery) can still substantially be improved. I like the online user group idea -could be useful. One thing I didn’t mention I did to rehearse using Camtasia to film me and record the slides. The reason for filming was really to keep an eye on my movement so that I didnt make too much background noise with all my jumping around at my desk and keep my voice and eyes focused ahead. Doing the actual presentation was another great experience and I found it interesting how different it all felt, but in a nice way.

      Thanks again and I will most certainly check out your presentation I’m sure I’ll find some great ideas in there.

  3. Jen Stirrup says:

    It was my pleasure to ‘moderate’ you for 24 hop, and I wish you every success for your future online and ‘in person’ presentations.

Comments are closed.