Microsoft Evangelism Academy – Day 3

Big presentations, feedback, spruiking from an impromptu soapbox and getting moved on by security…Day 3 of the Evangelism Academy had it all!

Phew. Well, a most amazing and anjoyable three days has wrapped up, and my head feels like it’s been pummeled with a bag of frozen peas.

The first big thing for the day was, of course, the presentation. Each of had the previous evening to prepare our big presentation to the group, whether that included slides or a tech demo, or something else entirely. I don’t have much experience as a presenter so I don’t have any pre-existing demos or slide decks to draw upon. As a result, I had to write up everything from scratch but at least I managed to get first billing for the day. I was too nervous to go later – wanted to get the nerves out of the way and then be able to relax and enjoy everyone else’s presentation.

So here it is. The topic was “PowerShell for System Administrators”.

Video 1 – Day 3 Presentation

I got group feedback instantly, as did everyone else. Each member of the group was assigned the task of assessing each presentation from a different angle – structure of the presentation, audience engagement, hand gestures and so on. Overall I was pretty happy with the presentation given my lack of experience and the nerves, but there was still plenty in the feedback for me to work on.

Video 2 – Presentation Feedback

And we breathe a sigh of relief as a major hurdle is overcome 🙂

All the presentations were really good – you could see that everyone had learned a lot during the course. Interestingly, some experienced presenters didn’t do as well as they normally would, simply because they were trying out new ideas and concepts to see what did/didn’t work. One of the key aims of the course was to improve us as presenters, not simply reinforce what we already do, so it represented a great opportunity to present outside our comfort zones.

And speaking of comfort zones, as we went into lunch we were told what the “special assignment” was – public addressing. We had to stand up, outside, and present for three minutes to an otherwise indifferent public on a topic of our choice. Prep time was approximately thirty minutes. I have to admit, I hate drawing attention to myself like that, so I was feeling distinctly uncomfortable. Also, in my naivete I assumed that as I’d been first up for the main presentation, there was surely NO WAY I’d be up first for this exercise as well. Silly me. We spoke in turn based on our birthdays, and as mine is in early January, it was a case of “Right James…up you get”. Sigh. Here’s the result.

Video 3 – Soapboxing on Democracy

Phew! No frothing at the mouth, at least. We managed to get through three presentations before security turned up and informed us that without consent from building management, we couldn’t use that space (that outdoor, publicly-accessible space) for that particular purpose. Oh well. Rather than link arms and sing “We Shall Not Be Moved”, we politely submitted and wandered out onto the Southbank promenade where there was just a teensy bit more passing traffic.

Again, everyone did really well, but the surprise speaker was Andrew Coates, who didn’t know that we were going to inflict the same treatment on him. As it was, we were totally schooled in the art of public speaking 🙂

Video 4 – Coatsy’s Soapbox

It turns out that passers-by are unwilling to engage with a person standing on an elevated platform and speaking very loudly. Who’d have thought it possible?

Anyway – what an amazing finale to a great three days. There will be follow-up meetings and lots of presenting to be done in the lead-up to TechEd Australia 2011 on the Gold Coast. Keep an eye out for more information about what the members of EvangelOz are up to.