Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Presenting Remotely

Yesterday I presented to the Charlotte SQL Server User's Group. Since I live in Denver, it didn't make a lot of sense to travel to Charlotte, as much as I would have liked to see Peter Shire of SQL Sentry and a few other friends in the area. I'd watched Joe Webb do a remote presentation a few months ago, so I had an idea of how it would go, but this was the first time I'd tried it.

I realized that I had a few things in my slides that were looking for audience input, like some survey questions, so I ended up changing the slides Mon night, and then Tues night not wanting to use my other email accounts, so getting in a rush to set up a web page and email for my site at The Modern Resume. BTW, I have a blog for The Modern Resume that should get the redirect. If it doesn't, use this link.

So I made a couple mistakes in making last minute changes, and afterwards my web redirect was broken.

It was a hard presentation. I like interacting with people and this was the first time I'd done a remote talk. The talk was through GoToMeeting, set up by SQL Sentry (Thanks for that), and they showed a few slides from their side before making me the presenter.

I'd never used GoToMeeting, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I had closed all my software on the desktop and started the Powerpoint deck. I had a phone I was using (landline) for the audio, I was in the basement, dogs locked away, my wife quiet upstairs, it went well.

However I felt like I was speaking in a black hole.

It's really like giving a lecture, and for the most part, I could have just been recording things and not really live. There was only one question during the presentation and none afterwards. Not sure if that means I was good or bad. I'm hoping for some feedback from someone that attended.

I only had an hour, lost a little time at the beginning, and with the changes I'd made, I had to speed things up a little at the end. I hate doing that, but I wanted to leave time for questions, expecting a few. Every time I've done this (4 so far), I've had questions.

My wife later gave me a few things I should have done. She's done quite a few webinars with GoToMeeting and she suggested:

  • Configure my desktop to show questions during the presentation.
  • Upload my slides and have them delivered from GoToMeeting so I can keep my desktop running.

I also had a few other things I did.

  • Cleared the desk so I wouldn't fidget with pens, etc.
  • Set my watch on the desk so I could see it and monitor time (Powerpoint does a bad job here)
  • I had water and coffee handy
  • My cell phone was next to me with the conference number entered in case things went bad. I also had the PIN code on a sticky.

Things I wished I'd done:

  • Uploaded Powerpoint deck.
  • Monitored Twitter during the talk (not sure I could have typed, but I wish I'd see things go by)
  • Fixed the web site up front (worked on my machine, sigh)

Presenting remotely was definitely different than live and I'm glad I made a few changes. I'm not really sure how it sounded and flowed, so I'd love feedback if anyone has it.

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