D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

Post VS.NET Community Launch Event

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 6:45 AM

We had our community launch event for visual studio last night. It went really well actually (from the comments people gave anyway). I ditched the pre-canned stuff and opted to show off my own presentation. I focussed on Winform development, PPC development, and VSTO (which is AWESOME in 2005...definatley check it out).  Now, every user group will be different, but here are some things that we noticed that you might want to consider for your group:

No Powerpoints Please
Our group is definately there for code (unless of course its a topic that PPT slides would benefit from, like architecture), and not power point presentations. One of the lines on our survey is “Would you like to see more powerpoint slides” and the score is consistently low. We're encouraging a format with our presenters that is more code centric and, if possible, involves no ppt element to it at all.

Make it an open forum
Instead of the typical presentation-with-questions-at-the-end type of format, ours is wide open: ask a question at any time...ask if something can be done with what we're showing and let's try it...maybe someone has insight into something that the presenter doesn't; encourage people to contribute. The more people feel they can interact with a session, the more attentive they'll be and the more fun the event will be as well.

Know what they care about
I did part of my demo on pocket pc development. There were 3 people in a group of 40 that actually did PPC development, and no organizations were considering it...so I probably could have dropped that and put in more Winform stuff.

Record questions and answer them
There were some questions that people had that I didn't know the answer to (and if anyone knows how you'd associate an object datasource via a remoting object, let me know), but those need to be found out and answered...for us, on the group website. Keeps people feeling that the group is meeting their needs for answers.

Gauge attention span
If you notice that people are nodding off, or that they're starting to fidget, looking at their watch, etc., don't feel that you need to go through all of your demos or material, or to the detail you wanted to. I'm realizing that, especially for code based demos, an hour to an hour and a half is perfect.



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