My public speaking experience

It can be a bit of a hassle; working on cool projects as a contractor and finding the time to take days off to visit and/or present at a VMworld, VMUG or other industry events. And that is next to putting in the hours to co-write some pretty awesome books if I may say so myself.

Busy but fun times! However, it is really important to me to keep attending industry events. I genuinely love to visit and present as I really see it as a investment in myself and our community. Meeting new people is always fun and interesting, and listening in on sessions is very educational. While doing so, I get the chance to practise public speaking.

The article by Duncan Epping (http://www.yellow-bricks.com/2018/03/08/confessions-of-a-vmug-speaker-the-prequel-speakerfail/) made me recap and think about my experiences with public speaking so far.

The First Time

It’s only been 2 years since I’ve started to (co-)host presentations. It was the NLVMUG in 2016. I can relate to the excess of rehearsing as Duncan described in his article. I was pretty psyched but mostly nervous to present at a VMUG. I talked in front of customers a lot, but public speaking felt like a totally different ballgame.

But there I was, presenting in front of peers. Looking back at the recordings, there are so many points I want to improve on. And the best way to learn and improve is to do it more often. Around that time, Frank and I started writing our Host Deep Dive book. We got the chance to present some of the content at both VMworlds in 2016.

I remember that VMworld US 2016 was the second or third time I was on stage, but the first time not speaking native tongue. We had a big room and something in the range of 800 registrants! Once we walked to our room, Oceanside D, we witnessed a large amount of people waiting to get into the room. I managed to film the part when they opened the doors:

Very cool to witness, but a little bit scary as well. I kicked of the introductions only to stumble on the very first sentences and had trouble pronouncing our own session title. Talking about #speakerfail. Once I was up to do my part, the nerves settled and I had a lot of fun presenting. Afterwards, people who attended the session were positive and we scored a top-10 session which was awesome!

Since then, I had the chance to do several VMUGs with Frank next to the NLVMUG and both VMworlds again in 2017. We presented at the German, London, Italy and the Nordic VMUG.

Moral of the this short write-up;

If I can do it, you most certainly can!

I talked to a lot of people who want to present at a VMUG or other events, but it looks like they worry far too much to go through with it. It’s okay to be nervous, but don’t let it get you. It’s that thing about stepping outside your comfort zone and into the zone where the magic happens… Presenting is a great opportunity to share your knowledge and experience, and in the process, put your name on the charts.

Upcoming Schedule

Hopefully, I’ll get the chance to present at VMworld 2018. Two session are submitted, session ID 1738 and 1735. Pretty cool as one session will be together with a lead-engineer who works on Network DRS within VMware!

With the support of the VMUG organization and our friends at Rubrik, we will attend the Indianapolis VMUG at the 10th of July. Attending and presenting at one of the largest US based VMUGs will be a very good experience.

Also, the VMUG at Prague on the 24th of May is on the schedule, really looking forward to that one!

There are some other opportunities that are work in progress.

To Conclude

I honestly hope that my experience can encourage others to take the leap of faith and contribute at an upcoming VMUG. Think about that project you’re working on and the design choices you made for it to succeed. Or what about that issue you ran into and solved. All very good content to convey to our VMware community.

Like the Nike campaign launched in 1988 stated; Just do it!!

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