DevConnections Spring 2010 Speaker Evals and Tips

Date Published: 17 June 2010

DevConnections Spring 2010 Speaker Evals and Tips

As a conference speaker, I always look forward to hearing from attendees whether they felt my sessions were valuable and worth their time. It’s always gratifying get a high score, but of course it’s the (preferably constructive) criticism that’s key to continued improvement. I’m by no means the best technical presenter around, and I’m always looking for ways to improve.

I’ve recently spoken at a few events, including TechEd and an Ohio event called Stir Trek. DevConnections was actually back in April, but they’re just getting their final evals out to speakers. TechEd, of course, does online evals so immediately after your talks you can see what people think. I’ll try and post my TechEd evals in the next week or so.

I gave3 talks at DevConnections Spring 2010 / VS2010 Launch which I discussed in this previous blog post. In this follow-up, I’m just going to share some eval info and my thoughts on it, albeit a couple of months later.

Pragmatic ASP.NET Tips, Tricks, and Tools

Evals Turned In: 27
Overall Eval: 3.74
Average Score: 3.47

89% found the technical level Just Right. 7.4% thought it was too basic (3.6% did not respond). Since nobody thought the content was Too complex, I could perhaps have added some more complex material, but having about 90% say it’s Just Right is pretty good.

92% said at least 50% of the material was new to them. 36% said 75% or more was new. That’s also pretty good, I think.

77.8% can use the information immediately; 15% can use it within 2-6 months (7.2 % no response).

Overall 78% rated the session Excellent, 18% Good, 4% Fair.

All comments (9):
Steve did a great job
Excellent session!
It was good.

I’m now super excited to attend Steve’s other sessions later today. Very useful.
One of the best speakers here. Bring him back to future conferences please.
Continue to have this session with new and old stuff. I always find something I did not know about.
Excellent! This was the best session I’ve seen all week.
Did not increase font on all pages could not see.
For Steve to have had more sessions.

Note to self – make the fonts bigger across the board. Otherwise, this is all good for my ego. :) This is always a very popular session and one I really enjoy giving. Tips and Tricks talks are pretty easy because you don’t have to go in depth with any particular thing, and they’re almost always with existing technology so you’re not dealing with betas, lack of documentation, and other issues. It’s an easy session to do well, in my experience, and one which I think attendees definitely appreciate.

What’s New in ASP.NET MVC 2

Evals Turned In: 23
Overall Eval: 3.77
Average Score: 3.47

(wow, I can’t believe I scored better on this talk than the tips and tricks talk, which I’ve given many times and was more excited about)

96% found the technical level “Just Right”. 90% found 50% or more of the material to be new. 43% can use the info immediately, and another 43% can use it within 2-6 months – I guess that speaks to adoption rates of MVC 2 among my attendees…

Overall 74% said the session was Excellent, 22% Good. 4% No Response.

All Comments (6):

Great job, thank you.
Great speaker!
Really good, a little lost in the code at some points, but great information.
Speaker needs to repeat questions from audience for everyone to hear.
Exceeded my expectations.
Great speaker, very informative.

I really do try to religiously repeat questions from the audience for everyone to hear, but obviously I didn’t do it 100% of the time. Note to self – remember to repeat questions. That and making fonts big are reallybasicspeaker best practices, which just goes to prove that fundamentals are always something that can be perfected.

SOLIDify Your ASP.NET MVC 2 Application

Evals Turned In: 8 (!)
Overall Eval: 3.63
Average Score: 3.47

As I recall this was one of the last talks of the day / show, which might account for the low number of evals turned in. I don’t recall speaking to an empty room for this talk, although it certainly wasn’t as crowded as the tips and tricks talk.

100% found the technical level Just Right. 100% found at least half the material new. 62.5% can use it at once and 37.5% within 2-6 months.

62.5% rated the session Excellent overall; 37.5% Good. I’m thinking there were 5 evals with all 4s checked and 3 with all 3s checked (4 = Excellent, 3 = Good)…

All Comments (3):
This covered many topics I’ve read about recently, and it helped reinforce them.
It was a nice overview of the solid principle, but I thought there might be specifics for MVC2. I am glad there is not.
Move a little slower.

Ok, so another fundamental – don’t go too fast. Looks like I got one fundamental tip from the comments of each talk.

My Take-Aways

Remember the fundamentals. It’s worth going through a checklist prior to presenting to make sure these things are fresh in your mind. Increase all font sizes. Repeat all questions from audience members without microphones (this is also a great way to stall for time, btw). Resist the urge to move too quickly especially if you’re nervous or short of time. Writing this up in a blog post also further reinforces these fundamentals for me, which is one of the main reasons why I do it – I retain things better when I write them, and even more so when I write them for public consumption since I have to really think about what I’m saying. And maybe a few of you find this interesting or helpful, which is a bonus.

Steve Smith

About Ardalis

Software Architect

Steve is an experienced software architect and trainer, focusing on code quality and Domain-Driven Design with .NET.