Last week I presented at a couple of VMUGs and at those VMUGs all whole bunch of sessions were recorded. I receive a lot of requests to speak at VMUGs and although I try to attend many of them, there is still quite a few I have to decline unfortunately. Whenever I visit a VMUG I try to attend various sessions just to get a better understanding of what it is our partners offer, how our customers use our products and what type of questions are raised. Below you can find a couple of the sessions (including my own) which I enjoyed and recommend watching. I understand that it is difficult to find a block of 5 hrs to watch these, but I would like to urge to do so as they will prepare you for what is coming in the future.
Last week I presented at the UK VMUG, Nordic VMUG and VMUG Belgium. My topic was vSphere futures… I figured I would share the deck publicly. The deck is based on this blog post and essentially is a collection of what has been revealed at last VMworld. Considering the number of announcements I am guessing that this deck is a nice summary of what is coming, feel free to use it / share it / comment etc.
Once again, I would like to thank the folks of the VMUG organizations throughout EMEA for inviting me, three great events last week with very passionate people. One thing I want to call out in particular that struck me last week: Erik from the VMUG in Belgium has created this charity program where he asks sponsors (and attendees) to contribute to charity. Last event he collected over 8000 euros which went to a local charity, it was the biggest donation that this particular charity received in a long time and you can imagine they were very thankful… all of this while keeping the event free for attendees, great work Erik! Thanks for giving back to the community in various ways.
See you next time.
I had this question last week from 2 readers if I was planning on presenting at a particular VMUG. I have prepared a session for three VMUGs in November where I will be presenting on vSphere (and related tech) futures. If you want a hint at what is going to be discussed I recommend reading this blog post. I will present this session at the following VMUGs, make sure you register as soon as possible as these yearly events are definitely worth attending. I encourage EVERYONE who comes to my session to ask questions and to interact to avoid death by Powerpoint 🙂
- Tuesday 18th of November – UK VMUG – Birmingham
- Thursday 20th of November – Nordic VMUG – Copenhagen
- Friday 21st of November – Belgium VMUG – Antwerpen
For the folks near the belgian border (Holland / France / Germany), all presentations should be in English so it is worth attending if you live relatively close by!
I started reading this book by Scott Berkun titled “Confessions of a public speaker”. After the first couple of chapters I felt I wasn’t alone… What I am talking about? Stage Fright / Fear of Public Speaking. Let me start with a quote first…
Mark Twain, who made most of his income from speaking, not writing, said, “There are two types of speakers: those that are nervous and those that are liars.”
For those considering speaking at a VMUG but are terrified, I hope you find comfort in knowing that the majority of people you see presenting at these events have (or had) similar feelings. I don’t know anyone who is not nervous when he goes up on stage. Those who say they are not probably indeed lie about it, yes there are some exceptions to the rule of course as always, but I can tell you that I am not one of those. I used to be terrified, stage fright is the right word.
Just to speak from my own experience, a lot of people seem to think that presenting is part of my role and is something I enjoy doing. I do enjoy it when the session is over, but the journey there I don’t enjoy. I am still nervous when I go up on stage, and depending on the size that is either nervous/excited or nervous/scared. Yes, like many of you reading this, the first couple of times presenting I wondered WHY am I doing this? It was painful being up on stage, it was painful doing dry-runs, and it even felt crap afterwards. WHY am I doing this?
Personally I believe I need to place myself in an uncomfortable situation to grow / learn. This applies to learning new skills, like public speaking, but also broadening the horizon from a job/career perspective. You can be a “virtualization admin” for the rest of your life and do it with your eyes closed… You can also take on a completely new set of responsibilities, yes you will feel uncomfortable for a couple of weeks or even months, but guess what after a while it all feels like you have been doing it for years… Same applies to public speaking, only way to get comfortable with that fear or nervous feeling is by doing it!
So what are some of the mistakes I made, and probably still make every once in a while, and what should you be doing or not doing?
- Don’t over do it! Practicing will help your delivery, overdoing it will probably hurt it! I did this for a long time, and I noticed I get nervous about forgetting things, and guess what… You will forget things, but don’t worry about that because the audience typically doesn’t know what you are going to tell them anyway!
- When practicing focus on your opinion, your story, your considerations. Don’t practice it “word by word”, think big and feel comfortable with the content.
- Don’t cram your slide-deck! Less = more. Especially true in the case of a slide-deck, understand the deck is there to support your presentation. But still keep in mind that many people use the slide-deck afterwards as study notes, so keep it balanced. Typically when you have 60 minutes, aim for 50 minutes talking and 10 minutes QA. Believe me when I say that 30/40 slides is MORE than enough. 30 would probably be better, and if you can do with less you’ve mastered it!
Practice while you build your deck… I do this regularly to test the flow and see if the points / diagram / screenshot works in the presentation, and I will tweak the deck while doing a dry-run when something doesn’t work.
And it’s often the case that the things speakers obsess about are the opposite of what the audience cares about. They want to be entertained. They want to learn. And most of all, they want you to do well.
That is key to remember, they want you to do well! Now, please take the time in the upcoming days to think about what you would like to talk about at a local VMUG. Everyone has something interesting to tell, it doesn’t need to be a deepdive on Storage, not everyone is Cormac Hogan right… No, a presentation on your migration between storage systems or datacenters could be just as interesting! A presentation on the introduction of a Disaster Recovery tool and how it changed your life would be a good way to help people making the right decision. Many many things one can talk about without the need to go extremely deep.
Once again, think about what you would like to talk about, create a slidedeck, practice and more importantly go have fun and support your local VMUG!!
Those who follow me on twitter probably have seen me “moaning” about the Dutch VMUG for a long time now. For years the Dutch VMUG was not a VMUG like any other VMUG in the world. Yes we had HUGE event in the Netherland every year with over 700 attendees, but it was a commercial event (my opinion!) and not a User Group event. User groups throughout the world are groups which organize events / meetings, these are organized by VMware users for VMware users, free of charge (or for a minimal fee), independent events, striving to make the life of the user better by sharing experiences and knowledge! In the Netherlands this was different, the VMUG was controlled by a single company but that has changed… finally!
— De Nederlandse VMUG (@NLVMUG) June 16, 2013
As of June the 15th 2013 there is an Official Dutch VMUG. This VMUG is part of the world wide international VMUG organization and controlled by a board of VMware users called the Customer Council!
So what does this mean? Lets make this absolutely clear, there is only one official VMUG in the Netherlands and that is NLVMUG.nl. Also, the yearly event in December (already announced for the 13th) is not an event by the Official Dutch VMUG. Personally I did not attend the VMUG event in 2012 as I do not want to support an event which is supposed to be a user group event but doesn’t come close to it, at least not what I perceive a user group to be. Both the Customer Council and VMware apparently agree with me on this, as on the announcement they state that neither of them will support or attend the December event that was announced.
Het op vmug.nl aangekondigde evenement is geen officieel VMUG evenement, en zal dus ook niet gesteund en bezocht worden door de Customer Council of VMware. We zullen jullie zo snel mogelijk proberen te informeren over een evenement dat door de officiële Nederlandse VMUG, de Customer Council, VMware Benelux en natuurlijk de community (bloggers) zal worden gehouden.
A couple of things before I wrap up this blog post with a call to action for all of my readers. First of all, I want to thank Ferry Limpens, Joep Piscaer, Viktor van den Berg, Dennis Hoegen Dijkhof, Robert van den Nieuwendijk, Laurens van Gunst, Sander Daems and Arjan Timmerman aka “The Customer Council” for taking this bold step. It is great to see that you guys are not afraid of change and are willing to take a risk. Congrats!
Secondly, I would like to ask every single person who has ever attended a Dutch VMUG event to let all of their friends and colleagues know about these changes and sign up for the official VMUG using the link below! You can read it in Dutch on the official Dutch VMUG website: nlvmug.com. If you are on twitter, make sure to follow @nlvmug, and if you have a question / would like to present at a VMUG / help organizing… feel free to drop these guys an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a user event, so try to participate, you are the community!
Last, but not least, I would like to ask all of the Sponsors of the Dutch VMUG to contact the Customer Council to see how you can help taking this User Group to the next level. The official Dutch VMUG can use all the help they can get!