I evaluate my sessions at ApacheCon

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Tuesday, November 20. 2007 in Junk Drawer

At this year's ApacheCon event, I had 3 sessions: The State Of The Feather, What's New In Apache 2.2, and Advanced Load Balancing In Apache 2.2. Overall, I think I could have done better... Not so much on the actual content itself, but the actual presentation aspects. First of all, I don't get nervous in front of a crowd, so I have no real issue speaking in front of an audience. But I do tend to focus more on the feedback from the audience than maybe I should... for example, if I see a lot of confused faces, I try to figure out what they are confused about and drift off a bit on a tangent to hopefully address that confusion. What I do tend to do as well, is try to fit all the content in during the timeframe given, even if, due to external circumstances, that isn't feasible anymore. So instead of skipping sections, I rush through on the assumption that something is better than nothing. My first talk is a perfect example. It was scheduled to start at 9 with Doc Searls taking over at 9:30. Knowing how things go, I set the talk to last for about 20 minutes, knowing that we would start a little late. Unfortunately, Rich went a little long, leaving me quite a short timeframe to go through things. Since Doc was one of our keynoters, I for sure wasn't going to grab some of his time. So I knuckled under and picked up the pace and squeezed the whole preso into a timeslot that would have been more comfortable with an extra 5 minutes or so. That doesn't sound like a lot of time, but believe me, it is. After the fact, most of the comments I heard were "very good presentation, but a little rushed"... yeah, I know :-) My next was my What's New In 2.2 talk, also at 9am. I think this went well, since the topics that I just glanced over (authn/authz and proxy) had their own sessions the next day. I was pleasantly surprised that it was a packed room. My final was the last day of the conference, at 3pm (2nd to last session). I was shocked to see that this was also a packed room. Unfortunately, I had a cold coming and tended to get dry in the mouth. Plus, I think that some attendees thought it was an introduction to reverse proxying, rather than a review of the new features in the proxy module, which threw me off a bit. I wasn't happy with how it went, but still, I got some good feedback after the talk, and many people came up to me with questions afterwards. So maybe it wasn't *that* bad. All in all, I'll wait to see what kind of marks I get in the speaker evaluations... Hopefully, I won't be *too* embarrassed or disappointed.

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