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April 2013

"Adventures of a Geek Dad" -- my IGNITE Asheville 2013 talk

On February 19, 2013  I spoke at IGNITE Asheville

My talk was entitled "Adventures of a Geek Dad" and I won 1st place! The crazy thing is, I tried to back out of this event a couple of times. I honestly didn't think many people would be interested in what I had to say.

Although I've given many talks, this one was among the most difficult to prepare for and deliver. 

The difficulty stemmed from the format:  5 minutes long and slides auto advance every 20 seconds. 5 minutes is such a short amount of time. Every word counts. You'll see in the video that I got behind / out of sync with my slides - - so easy to do.

Assembling my slides took way longer then expected because I realized I had too much to say in 5 minutes and that meant I had too many slides. I had to eliminate, pair down, refine, etc. Not easy for a guy that likes to talk a lot.

The event organizers (all great people) provided a speaking coach and she was AWESOME. Her name is Angie Flynn-McIver of Executive Repertory. Angie met with me one-on-one and listened to my talk and asked me to make a couple of simple yet important changes. 

Here are a few resources that helped a lot:

Scott Berkun -- Why And How To Give An IGNITE Talk

Scott Berkun's blog post on the same subject

IGNITE's tips for beginners

Jason Grigsby's "How To Give a Successful Ignite Presentation"

I bounced some ideas off of Ken Denmead at GeekDad.com (Thank you Ken!).

The biggest realization I had was how vulnerable I felt talking about parenting, my kids, and doing geeky stuff with my kids. The place was sold out with 420 in attendance and I just wasn't used to talking on a subject so personal in front of so many people. 

Towards the end of my talk you'll see me get a little choked up when the slide of my daughter's thank you card is on the screen. That was a surprise. I practiced my talk so many times and not once did I have an emotional reaction to my daughter's card. Sharing that image with hundreds of people really did get me connected with why I do this Geek Dad stuff - - it's a great way to spend time with my kids.

 You'll hear me mention the weekend Hovercraft Project and the Adventure Tower project.