As I mentioned before I had an awesome time at the Vancouver Code Camp this past weekend. The day started out a bit hectic since I was a little unsure about the length of my presentation, I was afraid it was going to be too long. It didn't help things when I saw the presentation schedule and found that everyone had only 50 minutes to present. The ten minutes between presentations were to give time for people to switch rooms, go to the washroom etc. and for the next presenter to set up.
By the time registration was finished and the first presentations started, things were running almost half an hour late. So I modified my presentation and made some changes to my code to have more things prepared. At 11:00 it was my turn to go on and I was ready.
I got started more or less on time thanks to Medhat compressing his talk before mine. There were about 20 people or so present and I got things rolling. I was a bit nervous at first, but once I got into the material a bit I was able to loosen up and I think that really helped. About 10 minutes or so into the talk the AJAX session next door let out and a flood of people came over, which was nice to see. I was up against the contest for the free Xbox 360, so I was happy with the turnout in the first place. This was just a bonus.
It was a good thing that I had been doing lots of digging into the Cryptography framework and reading about cryptography and the math behind it, I was able to flesh out the talk with pertinent details along the way. I also brought teh funny a little bit in my presentation, which helped me to loosen up and relate with the audience. I find that pictures and analogies always help to convey unfamiliar topics to people, so it was good.
Overall, I felt like I had done well when I was finished. I ended up going over into the lunch hour by a few minutes, and that was in speed mode so I could probably could have done an hour and a half easily. There were tons of great questions from the group, it looks like there are still lots of people either not doing this at all, or trying to write their own methods to secure data. Either way I think I helped to spread some security goodness around.
Some things that I learned that I will bring forward to future presentations:
1. Project. Project. Project. Just like I learned in my acting days back in high school, you need to project your voice. Being heads down into my notes or the laptop does not make for the best presentation.
2. Step away from the laptop. Another thing I felt I could have improved on was getting away from behind the podium and moving around a bit. I found that the presenters who do this tend to keep the audience more involved and active.
3. Simplify. Code tends to become complex, so simple examples demonstrating the key points are best. Any complex, in-depth information can be delivered later offline.
4. Don Box's talk on Channel9 about giving good technical presentations was a big help. Basically, he says:
a. Keep it simple, especially with Power Point.
b. Make code legible.
c. Keep the audience interested.
Up next: Other presentations.
Tags: Code Camp, .NET, Cryptography