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Last year, I had the opportunity to present at TechEd.  I’d like to present again.   I’m smiling as I write this down.   I never thought I’d say that.  Anyway speaking / presenting is well worth the effort.   From a pure selfish side of things, I’ll write about some of the benefits.  There are many, many, other benefits.

First, Speaking / presenting is an incredible experience.  

I had no idea that I would like speaking so much with my peers.  It is wonderful to know there are people out there with the same ideas / thoughts I had.  They asked similiarquestion to what I was thinking about.  They asked challenging questions too.  It was interesting how many different ways there are to do one thing.  OK, I know there are a ton of different ways to do one thing in SAP.  But these question challenged the specific project that I presented.  There were some really good ideas.

Community Day.

Prior to teched, I took the time to present at Community day.  See my “old” SAP Community Day – SAP TechEd  It goes into a lot of the same things I have written here.  Mmmmm…  I guess I still think the same way after a couple of years.  There are many great blogs on SCN on speaking / presenting.  If you are thinking about it read some of the other blogs.  Even if you are not you might want to check them out.

Expert Session.

I took the time to do an expert session last year as well.  The small group made for some interesting conversations.  We deviated from the subject – performance tuning into some of the BASIS concerns.  When I was thinking about the subject, I wasn’t really thinking of the BASIS side of things.  After talking with people, I started to think about some of the coding frustrations the BASIS team had.  So I changed some of the ways that I was programming.

Anyway – speaking. 

It wasn’t as hard as you would think.  When you begin your journey, know that there are many people that will help you out.  You probably have someone that can mentor you in your company.  There are books.  Although, I confess I didn’t read any.  There are Webinars.  There is Toastmasters.  There are examples of good presentations that you can draw upon.

Your audience is interested in what you are saying. 

They are.  If they weren’t they would have never decided to attend your session.  So you are talking to a friendly crowd.

But, I’m sure everyone knows about it.

Really?  Then why are they sitting there in the audience?  Oh, I know, no one came?  If no one comes, that makes for an easy presentation.  BUT probably there is at least one person who will be interested.  Your presentation was selected.  It was one out of many that was selected.

I’m not the expert!

Maybe not.  But you know about the subject.  Share what you do know.  If there is an expert in the audience, they can volunteer more information during or at the end of your presentation.

Do you really think I’m the expert on presentations?  I’m laughing a lot about that.  I’m taking time to write this blog.  But I am by far not the expert.

Top reason for presenting for me.

I think what I enjoyed the most was learning more about my subject.  When I prepared for the presentation, I practiced.  I practiced the session material.  Of course.  In doing the practicing and preparing, I learned more about the information.  It solidifies in my mind.  I’m less likely to forget about it.

I also practiced for the questions that people might ask. I was surprised at some of the questions I couldn’t have thought up that were asked.   After the preparation, you will know your material inside and out.  When the questions start coming, you’ll surprise yourself at the depth that you know the material.   Then you’ll be able to apply that knowledge to your everyday work week.

Tip.

It is much harder to speak in front of the people you work with every day.  The presenting outside work is easier.  You may never see the people again.  If you make mistakes they are less likely to know.  They are less critical.

Side Benefits exposed.
  • It is something you can ask to have put on your review.   I asked, and was given the extra acknowledgement on my review.   Very nice.  Huh?  You can add that one in the plus side of things.
  • I attended some Webinars on the how to present a technical presentation.   They were informative.  I could justify attending the Webinars.  I had presented before, and wanted to present again.
  • I have additional confidence when presenting at work. 
  • If you are presenting, you usually get a free pass to the event.  That makes it more likely your boss will send you to the event.  
  • I met more people.  It is an ice breaker.   People come up to me instead of the reverse.
  • I learned more about the subject material.
Go do it! 

So if you are thinking speaking, the same as I did, that speaking isn’t for you.   Think again.  And again.  Until you decide it is worth the time and effort.  If you help just one person, it was worth it.   If you find just one helpful hint, it was worth it.  And it is fun!!!!

I am a little late with this blog for this years TechEd, but there are many other forums to present at.   ASUG is a great place.  Community day.  Your own workplace…

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9 Comments

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  1. Nigel James
    Thanks for great tips Michelle.

    Speaking at a community day / Inside Track event is a great way to ease into this. Like you say the crowd is friendly.

    They say people fear public speaking more than death. It is a great fear to conquer and I hope more people are encouraged to do so.

    regards,
    Nigel

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    1. Michelle Crapo Post author
      I clicked on your link for the Inside Track.  It does sound like fun.  However, it is in London.  That’s a major drawback for me.

      Public speaking is a hard fear to conquer.  I’m not real sure I’ve conquered it yet.  I’ve just learned to live peacefully with it.  I’m still very nervous. I just do it anyway.

      Thank you!

      Michelle

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  2. Mark Chalfen
    Hi there,

    This was a great read.

    I has signed up to do some presenting at the end of the year, and some of your thoughts align to mine.

    My personal view is talking to people you know is easier ( I will let you know my view after speaking to total strangers) as they are more receptive and warm to you (friendly).

    As I said, I will come back to you and let you know what I find easier.

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    1. Michelle Crapo Post author
      Please come back and comment.  I’ll be interested to see if you change your mind.

      On a good note:
      I’ve found – at least on the technical things – that the audience is warm to you.

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  3. David Hull
    I’ve submitted an abstract to speak at TechEd Las Vegas this year for the very first time. I’ve done a lot of teaching in the past, but never presented in an SAP capacity, even though I’ve been working with SAP products for many years.

    So we’ll see how it goes, if I am lucky enough to be selected to present! 🙂

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  4. Natascha Thomson
    …another inspirational blog, Michelle.

    I totally agree that it is much harder to present in front of people you know compared to people from the office. Makes me feel like my job is being audited :-). Hope to see you at TechEd, I expect to be in running the Expert Networking Lounge again.

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    1. Michelle Crapo Post author
      I’ve got my fingers crossed that I’ll get to go.  I’ve been lucky enough to go the last couple of years.  I’m not sure I’ll get to go this year.  But maybe…

      I hope to see you again too! 

      Michelle

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