This is a huge thanks to the great folks that attended my presentation yesterday. We had a scream, everyone seemed to be having a good time, with both the audience and me cracking jokes - it was just like hanging out with friends except that over 50% of the faces were new.
'Pauls tries to Write VB Code' could have been written as a comedy sketch - first semicolons, then learning how to write a Dim statement. Finally an audience member realized that I had called the demo solution IsNumeric which became the default namespace and hence meant that using the IsNumeric keyword was not going to work. When coding it is great to have audience of forty sharp developers looking over your shoulder - perhaps a bit costly in real life though?
Well thanks again guys, whoever said 'Paul Rocks' during the applause totally made my day. It was good to see the somewhat 'on-the-fly' style is working out. Preparation for an hour long presentation used to take me close to forty hours (seriously!) but I have it whittled down to about ten now including some dry runs. It would be easy to recite a prepared script, but I think my 'never-quite-the-same-twice' style is working out. The disadvantage is that we always miss a couple of fairly important points during demos; still that seems a fair price to pay for having fun too. Maybe eventually the nervousness/anxiety/ panic will totally subside and I can last a hour without missing a beat.
If anyone is thinking of trying out presenting, then please volunteer for a 30 minute slot at one of the study groups in town (don't try the main .Net group first off unless you are uber-confident!!). The first time will undoubtedly be a total trauma - building up to the day is the worst part, the 30 minutes itself will fly by. Once over you'll feel great, even it was a little lame - because you will know that you could have done better and will have increased confidence to present again. Every presentation after that your confidence will improve and who knows you may even start to enjoy giving them one day :) That day took a year and almost ten presentations for me to achieve but it was worth it. Thanks guys!