At the end of December, I created a list of things I wanted to accomplish in 2015; one of the items on that list was to present at my local VMUG. Now, there were two main reasons I wanted to present on a topic: The first being a reason to force myself to get out of my comfort zone and get over my anxiety of speaking in front of a large group of people, and the second was to put the User back in the VMUG. It had been a while since our local group had a member present on a topic, and so I decided that I would use myself as the vehicle of encouragement to help push other members to leave their fears behind and vacate their comfort zones too.
I was extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to speak with Brad Christian (@vHipster | blog) a couple of weeks before my presentation. He provided me with some great recommendations for building out my presentation, and making sure I delivered it in a way that would allow me the opportunity to connect with my audience. The second part was surprisingly easier than I had expected and confirmed what Brad had told me: “If you are passionate, and knowledgeable about what you are presenting on, it will become a natural conversation.”
Ultimately, I had a blast doing the presentation, and it’s something I look forward to doing again in the future. If you were like me, and had been wanting to get up and present in front of your local VMUG, then I implore you to stop wasting time and to go for it! I learned things about myself that would have taken a lot longer to discover had I not gone through this process. Plus, as a bonus, when you’re done with your presentation, quite a few people will likely approach you that want to chat, and at the end of the day, that is one of the biggest benefits of belonging to a user group!
Tips and thoughts on presenting:
If you’re going to do a Live Demo, make sure to have a recording as a backup.
Make backups of your presentation.
Avoid “Death by Powerpoint” (Minimize the use of slides).
Pick 5 people to focus on during the presentation and take turns looking at them. This will help you feel like you’re speaking to a smaller audience.
Remember that people want you to succeed! No one wants to sit through a boring presentation – they are pulling for you!
Be natural, and don’t stand in one spot. Interact with your stage!
Relax and have fun!
A huge thanks to Brad Christian for helping me along the way and to Sean Massey (@seanpmassey | blog) for making his Home Labs presentation available to the public! If you are interested in presenting at your local VMUG and want some guidance, I strongly suggest that you reach out to the local leaders and ask them to get you involved in the FeedForward program.