Hear me roar!

So I finally got around to it and plucked up the courage to join the speaking circuit. Let me tell you, I now have even more respect for those colleagues of mine in the User group domain that regularly stand up in front of a large audience of their peers voluntarily to share their knowledge. It’s scary!

After chatting with some of the other organisers in the SharePoint user group at the last SharePoint Saturday in nottingham, I foolishly let slip that I had some talks prepared and both Ian and Randy from their respective areas jumped on the chance of fresh meat!

So, I found myself in early January heading down to Southampton university to present my session on SharePoint search to a group of very eager User group devotees. The day was not without it’s issues however, with first my demo machine deciding to blue screen and completely hose the search database about an hour before I was due to leave, and then Surrey police decided to close the streach of M25 that I was parked on!

I finally got there about 1.5 hours later than I had intended, completely missing my slot! Luckily John Timney had asked Ian if he could go first and after he’d had a slightly panicked phone call from me the issue was resolved.

After that, the session could not have gone better and I had a great first experience with a very engaged crowd and some great questions. The drive home was distincly better than the drive there and I was rather elated the whole way!

My second stint took place yesterday in Cambridge at the East Anglian chapter of the SUGUK and again we had a great crowd that seemed really engaged in the session and some good questions. Again, not without it’s problems, my ritual offering to the demo gods early in the day had not appeased them, and they saw fit to remove the power from the socket feeding my laptop, resulting in a complete shutdown of laptop and VM with ten minutes remaining in my session.

Unfortunately, with no time left to reboot the VM, this meant we had to resort to the slides and talk baout the remaining couple of demos and the Visual Studio code. I think for safety’s sake next time, I’m going to have the code and screenshots on hand!

It’s been a personal challenge getting to the point where I feel I can stand up there and share the knowledge with people but I have to admit it’s a very rewarding feeling to step down and actually feel that people have gained something from what you had to say. now it’s time to start planning the next session and I think I’m going to stick with the XML/XSLT theme and start looking at the Data View Web part.

As promised however, I have annoted my slides with some extra notes and you can grab a copy to peruse. I’m also hoping to record some webcasts of the last couple of demos and will post them here soon.


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