Amsterdam, are you ready to BLOG?!!!

Whew! One presentation down, one two go. And the first one was my hardest one.

About 75 people attended my Tech Ed Europe presentaion on the Community Server blogging engine and's Smart Components. About a 3rd of the people who attended gave feedback - in part because I begged and in part because of the Xbox 360 raffle going on for people who do evaluations.

Betsy Rehearses

First let me say for the record - the hall I was in, was huge. When I did sound check ( see photo of me in blue shirt) I actually yelled "Amsterdam, are you ready to ROCK?!!!" and it made sense the way I was miked. I so wanted to be a rock star.

Betsy getting the microphone on (the guy on the right had to help me). Korby Parnell took the photos during the actual presentation.

I was actually better than I expected in terms of sheer nerves at the beginning of my speech. When I practiced in the hotel room it was a full hour and I thought, I really still need to slow down. The problem is, I sped up. The session ended 25 minutes early even with a few questions.

Betsy holds forth

The other thing I realized belatedly is - I am a very American, informal style person under pressure. It's a bad habit that I descend into American colloquialisms under stress, and while I don't think I made a lot of slang faux pas moves in this speech, the fact that my manner was more casual, I expressed my appreciation for folks coming to the session warmly and in a "it's a privilege" way, I think actually worked against me as not being formal enough for European audiences.

In American public speaking the more you leave the podium, the better. In my feedback I got dinged for walking around the stage. (Watch out for that program manager, she's dangerously casual!) The other thing that annoyed me was being called a product manager. I mean really. 🙂

As a presenter, my scores are running roughly a point behind the average of the speakers for my track. Most of the people presenting are not experiencing their first TechEd speech, and  quite a few people here train or evangelize for a living. Eileen thinks I'm doing ok for my first one, but of course, I wanted to rock the house.

Ah well. I do a Chalk and Talk with Eileen, and then I can start some well-deserved gin and tonics.

Live it vivid!



This last part was edited at night, when I'm winding down after two parties and feeling the intense need to sleep. Yet can't. Damn adrenaline. Even gin is not helping.

The second presentation went really well - Eileen leapt in to lead and I was her "demo dolly" but held my own on philosophical and technical issues around maximizing your blog.  It makes a big difference though that I was co-presenting with her - our scores were a full point above my own solo - and it's due to the fact that Eileen is a goddess and I had warmed up sufficiently by that point to have no fear at all. We had about 25 folks, and a lively discussion (which is what Chalk and Talk is all about). I tried to take notes and gave up, but then Korby came in and I thought was taking notes - but apparently he could only get one paragraph into his blog. Oh well, he went overboard on my presentation before that, so maybe it all evens out.

Have I mentioned Eileen is a goddess of IT? She is.



Next day update:

The session with Eileen apparently took longer to process through the ratings system - we had actually 30 people and our score vaulted to a full point about the average "good" score. As I mentioned, Eileen is a super presenter.

Oh yeah and when I said 75 people attended my breakout? I think I was in shock and denial - it was 170. Just trying not to be scared of it, that's all. Thanks Mr. Kaplan for your words of support. 🙂

And people did give me above average scores for "knowledge" - so they didn't think I was stupid.


Comments (7)

  1. When I showed the differences between the CLR and Yukon collation support in this post, I definitely…

  2. LukCAD says:

    Ohh no… Not need to be like rock when make show from tech. I noted early that when we tried to be like god (goddess) and stars simalteniously we lost main aim – to be closer for people and to be among them.

    It is my think, you can have another…

    Sincerely, LukCAD

  3. Audio recording of your session with Eileen (the Chalk and Talk) is here: .

  4. Ben says:

    Aout your first session …

    I’must say I wasn’t to positive at the feedback but that might have been wrong from my part. I guess in the end that I expected too muh from the session… so my apolgies for that one.

    Anyway the way you behaved on stage the speed of your spoken language all sounded ok to me (being an European myself)… I think the content of the speech was a bit to weak … but hey who am I to judge …

    Your nerves were there that you could see … but I guess that goes away with practice I know I already get nervous when to speak for 5 people.

    Rgeards and have a nice team in Europe

  5. Recording of your first session from Tech Ed is here:

    and related news item at portal is here: .

    Just one remark: blogging as such is not my primary interest. Inciting employees of Microsoft who work on Windows Mobile to blog – is my primary interest here.

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