This is my fifth consecutive Adobe MAX conference, but first time speaking at MAX. Speaking doesn't change the MAX experience. You don't get crazy perks or chased down by groupies. Well, maybe Ben Forta does, but not us regular folks. What did change was my level of confidence. I felt more comfortable introducing myself to others, chatting about projects I'm working on and promoting the Bay Area Mobile meetup.
My path to becoming an Adobe MAX speaker began with the online ColdFusion meetup roughly 12 months ago. Online meetups are great, because you don't have to see anyone's faces while you bomb. Next I spoke at my local Adobe User Group on ColdFusion and jQTouch. My biggest learning experience was 360 Flex San Jose. I planned a 3 hour workshop and had a minor revolt half way through. The main reason was the material was not fully baked and I lacked the confidence to deliver it. Once accepted as a speaker for MAX, I knew failure was not an option. Here are a few things I learned.
- Start preparing your material the minute you are chosen as a speaker. It's too easy to put it off to the last minute.
- Practice your session for a sample audience. Your local user group or an online group is perfect.
- Take feedback from your practice session and improve your materials. All the feedback I got was very helpful.
- Relax when delivering material. Chat with audience prior to starting. It can help bring out friendly faces when you start.