Reflections on my first public speaking engagement

It’s been a day since my talk on Javascript solutions at SharePoint Saturday Detroit, so I’ve had some time to think and reflect on what went well and what didn’t. The feedback I received afterward was positive, and a few people even tweeted about it. 199 people have viewed my slides on SlideShare, which gives me great hope that people actually have an interest in what I had to say.

This was my first technical talk of any consequence, aside from client training sessions or internal Sogeti talks, so I was a little apprehensive about how it would play out. I obsessed over the content for a month, but walked into the room without a clear idea on whether I was really ready for this.

My main takeaways:

I can totally do this. Once I started speaking, the anxiety melted away, I fell into the role I do every day – a knowledgeable SharePoint developer who can speak authoritatively and passionately about JavaScript. The audience was engaged and asked great questions, and I felt like they were finding value in my content.
I had waaay too much content. My greatest fear was running out of things to say long before the time slot was up. Once I got into the flow of the talk, though, there was plenty to say, and soon enough I was startled when a guy in front said to me, “your time’s up”. The 75-minute time had come and gone, and my best demos went unseen. I learned that my scope has to be much smaller. Instead of trying to cram everything I know about JavaScript and SharePoint , I should have focused exclusively on either jQuery or the Client Object Model. In retrospect, I could have treated either of those topics alone for the entire time.
Don’t sweat it. There really was no reason for me to be anxious about this – the SharePoint community is full of helpful, passionate, and appreciative people.
I can’t wait to do it again. Rather than wait for the next conference to come around, I am going to seek out opportunities to talk to whoever will listen – clients, peers, user groups.

Thanks again to everyone who came out to see my talk!

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3 thoughts on “Reflections on my first public speaking engagement

  1. I enjoyed your talk and look forward to implementing some of these ideas in my own SharePoint environment. Great job!

  2. From what I’ve been hearing…..sounds like you did a great job! Good content and relative to what people we’re looking for. Funny thing was….I told my staff to skip MY presentation and go to your’s….I figured they get more out of it, and they did. Thanks for presenting.

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