After a great talk on Saturday in Montreal, I had the opportunity to follow it up on Monday by doing my “Effective Collaboration during a Sprint” talk at the AgileTour 2010 Quebec event. Today was an exciting day! How did the presentation go? Personally, I think it went pretty well. But if you want more details, you need to read on!
Last year I had the opportunity to present at the Quebec City event but I turned it down because of some timing issues. This year though, with the “A Practical Guide to Distributed Scrum” book having come out in June, I told the publicist at Pearson that I would be a good boy and would go present to do some marketing for the book.
Quebec City is about three hours from where I live, so I drove down the night before and found myself a low cost hotel close to the conference site. The drive down seemed to take forever as I did not sleep much the last few nights, but I made it there safely. Long drives like this are when I appreciate my Sirius satellite radio the most as I keep my favorite channels with me.
I learned some interesting information about this conference today. They have corporate sponsors but it is volunteers from the Quebec City Agile community that organize the event. Their selection process was also interesting. You had to submit your talk to the organizing committee and the Agile Community voted for the talks they wanted at the conference. There were twenty-four talks submitted and they chose twelve. I learned today that my talk placed in the top four in votes.
When I give talks, I like to go see the room where I will present as soon as possible to get a sense of the size and feel of it. I also do this to know exactly where I need to go when my turn to talk comes around. So this morning, after registering, I went in search of the room. I ended up in an auditorium with a capacity of 250 people! I will be honest here, the first emotion that came over me was shock. Next, a sense of panic… Finally, the words “This is so cool!” came to mind.
Before today, I presented once in a room this size and the auditorium intimidated me a little bit. My presentation was at 10:15 am and I skipped out the talks before mine and tried to make sure I got my nerves under control. Luckily, the talk before mine ended a early, so I could set myself up in the room early.
I put the poster for the book on an easel close to the door. I set up my wireless microphone to record the talk. I tried their wired microphone, but did not know yet if I could speak loud enough to go without it.
Since seeing Craig Larman give a talk in Ottawa earlier this year, I have a deck with silly pictures that I roll as a warm-up before my talks. I set this up and let it go for fifteen minutes or so and five minutes before my start time, I changed to the first slide of my presentation deck.
The room really started filling up at that point, with seats available mainly in the last few rows. I would guess I had between 150-180 people when I started. I tried to stay focused to avoid freaking myself out because this was easily my biggest crowd ever.
I started talking using the microphone to encourage folks to stop talking, but after doing a test without it, I decided to go without it and project my voice for the talk. I did not know how long the range was with the microphone wires and did not feel like getting tripped up or surprised during the talk.
Today was among the coolest experiences in my life and it gave me quite a rush to speak for this large crowd. I mentioned a few times in this blog before that I always wondered how I would feel talking in front of a large crowd. Today I got my answer… I felt great! I was barely nervous during the presentation and I think it flowed well overall as well.
I took a bit less time than I expected but that is because I cut some slides a bit short because I felt I talked too much on some of my earlier slides and would end up going long. In the end, I finished 10 minutes early.
What amazed me as well was how well people were listening and to see them taking notes when I was talking or when I was changing to another slide. I sincerely hope the people that attended got as much out of it as I think they did.
I had a few people come see me with questions after the talk. During lunch, they had some prizes for the attendees. I offered up three copies of “A Practical Guide to Distributed Scrum” for them to give away.
To the attendees visiting my site, if you read this, please know you gave me a very memorable day and I will not forget this event for a while! I am honoured your Agile Community voted me in the top sessions you wanted to see at the conference! Thank you!