Sunday, May 23, 2010

Goal Complete: Speak at a Design Conference

It was a success…depending on what the meaning of success is.

My success is that 1) I didn't throw up. 2) Only 5 people left (out of about 40 or 45) and 3) Someone asked me a really great question at the end and told me they got a lot out of the session. That made the whole thing worth it. 4) I didn't throw up!

This was my first time speaking at WebVisions, and as an attendee 2 years ago I have to say I was very honored that they asked me to speak back in January. I got there super early to get set up just in case of technical difficulty (which we had). It never fails with the technical difficulty. Then I had a good half hour to spare and visited with the tech guy and walked around. The team there was on top of it, with volunteers and organizers of the event. 10 minutes before both doors close, 5 minutes before 1 door closes, and at 1:15 I started. I had mingled just a bit before then. The room is always so quiet, and it's very intimidating being on the "giving" end. I've been to countless conferences and always look on at the speaker expecting so much and not really putting myself in their shows.

Boy it's amazing how doing this one time really changes your outlook and helps you to empathize with what they are doing up there.

I feel like I started the session fairly strong. I didn't have an automatic slide button, so I was forced to stand behind the podium as I needed to switch slides which I didn't care for. I like to walk around and get out around the people. I was able to ask them where they came from, where they worked and got closer to them then. There was some good interaction I suppose. The tech guy had to remind me that they can't hear each other and to repeat what they say and ask (oops).

I remember looking at the clock at about 1:40 thinking I've kind of hit a wall with the crowd. I think it distracted me when someone got up to leave. People do that, it's not uncommon, but by the end about 5 people had left!! *Sigh. I was either too boring or it wasn't what they were looking for. Mental note: tell a really compelling story in the middle of the speech-I should have told more personalized stories around the work and what to do. Then at about 10 'til 2 (with 25 minutes left to go) I was starting to run out of content, but made it stretch long enough until 2:00. There was a good Q&A portion-about 3-4 questions and then a handful of people stayed with more, that's always much more comfortable and I really enjoy it. The was one lady who stayed for the next session and I was packing up she asked me how in the world I do it with 3 kids? I told her to ask me that again in 6 months after I've been in a new state with no family around. Haha!

WebVisions gave a gift and I spent awhile talking to the director. He was asking me if I would come back and I said definitely. I told him a few people in my session were designing for the international market and asked if they had considered that as a topic-made a suggestion about it for next year. He said that would be great. So come this September I will definitely be putting that proposal in, and am hoping to wrangle up a few people from LE to come with me and speak as a group so I don't have to do it alone!

In hindsight, there are so many things I would have changed. I realized I didn't even use my big closer I was planning on going through which was one of the best parts-I just completely forgot it! My stories! Less technical difficulty in the middle switching between the presentation and imagery. Better set up with a slide remote. More energy!! Lessons learned! Am hoping to get some feedback from the audience as well and hoping if anyone did hear me speak they would be open to hearing me again-that would be the ultimate compliment!

*Sigh of relief! Done!

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