Recently, I had the privileged of being asked to give a ‘show and tell’ style presentation, at the Firefly Developer’s Day, held at Radley College.

In truth, I received this invitation with a mixture of pride and anxiety – visions springing to mind of the Michael Bay ‘meltdownduring his presentation at CES 2014!

Don’t get me wrong, I love debates of all natures (just ask my colleagues & family Smile) and certainly feel confident in my chosen subject area.  Indeed, in a ‘previous life’ my primary role was working as a software trainer.

Why heck, I’ve done hundreds of musical gigs over the past 25 years or so (albeit in the comfort of a band environment); but a crowd isn’t completely alien to me.

However, it’s always slightly scary when you don’t truly know your audience or the quality of technical support that’s there to back you up!

I have always prided myself on doing the best I can, in whatever I do – I’m not claiming to be a perfectionist by any means, but I like to do a good job.

Although, in truth this was a relatively small gathering of technically minded folk, I still wanted to give it my best shot.  As such, I took advice from several people, that had more experience of public speaking than me (particular thanks to Chris Sykes – the Drama Teacher at St Mary’s School, Shaftesbury).


So, a plan of action was established (...sort of)

  • Presentation must have credibility - I have witnessed too many IT presentations in the past, which attempt to ‘blind with science’ in order to mask a clear lack of subject knowledge Steaming mad.
  • Must be passionate and engaging (well, as much as you can be, in such circumstances).
  • Allow for technical fall-back if things go wrong expect things to go wrong Smile.
  • Have a back-up strategy for stage nerves.
  • Rehearse, rehearse and then rehearse again.
  • Test, test and then test again.
  • Did I say ‘test’?
  • Did I say ‘rehearse’?
  • Oh yes, and breathe!
  • Post presentation review.


Overkill?

Some may say this is a little overkill for a small presentation, but I would disagree.

Indeed, I even went so far as to pre-record screen cast video’s of all the demos used in the presentation, just in case of internet failure (as funny enough, that happens occasionally).

For a bit of sparkle, I also took the opportunity to use the browser based presentation framework revealJS in an attempt to break away from death by PowerPoint.  Ironically, I received more comments about this, than anything else (I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing).

I rehearsed the talk several times, and also maintained a good old fashioned ‘paper’ crib sheet – yes you read that correctly, paper!


Summary and Video!

This may just be a rambling about a ‘small town’ IT presentation, but I am glad to report that the event went rather well, as did the Firefly Developer’s Day in general.

I certainly didn’t ‘die on stage’ - technically or emotionally (which is always a bonus), and I hope a few nuggets of information were successfully dispensed.

Clearly, there is always room for improvement, which I shall endeavour to make.

Unfortunately, the quality of the video footage from the presentation is rather poor, but Firefly were kind enough to provide me with a copy, for post presentation critique!

As such, to complete the blog post, I have included this below (warts and all) along with a link to the revealJS presentation.

 

Presentation: http://bit.ly/ffdemonstration

(Sincere thanks to Firefly for giving me the stage; to Radley College ICT department, who provided excellent and seamless support, and to my fellow attendees of the Firefly Developer’s Day, who were very kind in their reception)

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