I’m writing this a bit ahead of time, as I plan to write a follow-up to compare what is planned against what will have happened.
As the title suggests, I will be hosting my very first public session on the 21st of April. I am taking part in Global Azure Bootcamp , a worldwide community event where experts from around the world gather locally to share their experience and knowledge on Azure. I would probably have preferred to be involved in an event in France, however I am in Seattle that week, so my event of choice will be directly @Microsoft in Redmond.
This will be an occasion for multiple first times for me : first time on my own as a public speaker, first participation in Global Azure Bootcamp, first time presenting fully in English, and first time presenting in Redmond of course 🙂 So, big step far out of my comfort zone.
The aim of this post, as stated above, is to record what I did to prepare for the event, and afterwards, write down what have gone right and wrong, and how I can progress and do better.
I have chosen the topic of containers & Kubernetes on Azure for two reasons : first I am rather comfortable with the subject, and second a colleague, Jean Poizat, https://www.linkedin.com/in/jean-poizat-0a97bb/, did already build a slidedeck and demo which I could expand from.
Obvious first then : I have a chosen familiar grounds and existing material, to limit the amount of work needed. This however presented a challenge : start from slides which I did not write, and get familiar with those, before rearranging & completing those to my purpose and comfort.
A word on how I got out of my comfort zone : a nice kick in the back end! I saw on some social networks few friends and colleagues getting ready for GAB in France, which prompted me to start collaborating, at least to give a hand. Once I realized I would be in Seattle at that time, I contacted the local event owner Manesh Raveendran, https://www.linkedin.com/in/maneshraveendran/, to offer my help, in broad terms. It took me a while to be able to suggest the session I will be presenting, and I almost chickened out a few times. But once Manesh wrote me in, that was it, I had to make this work!
The next step was to get very familiar with the presentation and with the associated demos. I started presenting to myself, but out loud and standing. This allowed me to work my speech, content and speed, and fine tune the slides. I also quickly incorporated the demos, to work out how to time things, and how to work around a failing demo.
I started 10 days before the set date, with the slides & demo mostly ready. I allowed a minimum of a deck run every two days, that I would then adjust depending on my comfort and accuracy.
During these dry run, I would keep a piece of paper next to me, to write down whatever thoughts/questions or clarifications were needed. These would affect either the speech or the slides, and even the demo.
In between these runs, I would review the slides as much as I could every day.
I did not spend as much time reviewing the demo, as Jean had provided me with a solid script that would mostly run by itself, on my cue. The few manuals demos were quite simple, and worked every time.
I was also lucky enough to meet with several architects during that time, who were kind enough to give me their feedback on my slides, and even to let me rehearse in front of them, and give me their impressions and advice. That was a big help, and a great comfort as showtime loomed closer 🙂
I am now a few hours from the actual session, I will submit this post and start writing the follow-up right after the session.
PS : the program for the Redmond event is there : https://www.azurecommunityevents.com/#/event?181C8806-AFB7-4142-B0D3-B1858E9E8956