Code Camp: Getting the hang of this presentation thing

This is a huge thanks to the great folks that attended my presentation
yesterday. We had a scream, everyone seemed to be having a good time, with both the
audience and me cracking jokes – it was just like hanging out with friends except
that over 50% of the faces were new.

‘Pauls tries to Write VB Code’ could have been written as a comedy sketch – first
semicolons, then learning how to write a Dim statement. Finally an audience member
realized that I had called the demo solution IsNumeric which became the default
namespace and hence meant that using the IsNumeric keyword was not going to work.
When coding it is great to have audience of forty sharp developers looking over your
shoulder – perhaps a bit costly in real life though?

Well thanks again guys, whoever said ‘Paul Rocks’ during the applause totally made
my day. It was good to see the somewhat ‘on-the-fly’ style is working out. Preparation
for an hour long presentation used to take me close to forty hours (seriously!) but
I have it whittled down to about ten now including some dry runs. It would be easy
to recite a prepared script, but I think my ‘never-quite-the-same-twice’ style is
working out. The disadvantage is that we always miss a couple of fairly important
points during demos; still that seems a fair price to pay for having fun too.
Maybe eventually the nervousness/anxiety/ panic will totally subside and I can last
a hour without missing a beat.

If anyone is thinking of trying out presenting, then please volunteer for a 30 minute
slot at one of the study groups in town (don’t try the main .Net group first
off unless you are uber-confident!!). The first time will undoubtedly be a total
trauma – building up to the day is the worst part, the 30 minutes itself will fly
by. Once over you’ll feel great, even it was a little lame – because you will know
that you could have done better and will have increased confidence to present again.
Every presentation after that your confidence will improve and who knows you may even
start to enjoy giving them one day 🙂 That day took a year and almost ten presentations
for me to achieve but it was worth it. Thanks guys!

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