Headlines for Monday:


Priorities - A: high, B: medium, C: low; Status - _: unfinished, X: finished, C: cancelled, P: pending, o: in progress, >: delegated. Covey quadrants - Q1 & Q3: urgent, Q1 & Q2: important
AX@0600-1900 IBM CASCON
AX@1600-1700 Meet with Kevin
AX@2030-2115 Panic and ask for help with tough workshops
AX@2115-2130 Return call: Archana
AX@2130-2200 Write follow-up mail to Kevin
AX@2200-2300 Write diyplanner article
AXWrite follow-up mail to Nicoline
AXTake del.icio.us screenshots, just in case
AX+diyplanner Write about speech-writing


09:00-09:15 Introduction
09:15-09:40 Very brief history of blogs, how to read blogs and comment on the entries
09:40-10:00 Attendees create their own blog, comment in the course blog, build dialogue
10:00-10:30 Explanation of tagging technology, including del.icio.us and Flickr
10:30-11:00 Establish accounts on del.icio.us and Flickr
11:00-11:15 Discussion of Creative Commons and IP licensing
11:15-11:40 Demonstration of video blogs, mblogging, etc.

1. Speaking

Categories: None -- Permalink
Argh. del.icio.us was slow. Waah.

Must figure out how to get things to be much smoother. It's _tough_ being the last speaker in a 3-hour stretch. I kept worrying about the time, and I had much less time than I expected. Also, people were tired already by the time we got to my part, so I didn't get to feed off their energy.

Must learn how to deal with difficult situations like that...

2. Hacking for kids

Categories: None -- Permalink
O'Reilly's looking for someone to write a book on hacking for kids. I'm all for it. I think more kids should learn how to program. It's tons of fun. =)

3. Toastmasters and speaking at technical conferences

Categories: None -- Permalink
Being a Toastmaster has disadvantages after all. I now really, really hate it when I give a speech that's nowhere near good or even satisfactory. Although two people came up to me afterwards and told me the workshop was great, I sooo want to make it even better! Today's speech had none of the ease or energy of my Toastmasters speeches. And worse: I wasted the time of two people who squeezed a break into their very busy schedules to be there.

Toastmasters has woken internal monsters. My inner "ah" counter who would've just tsk-tsked at all of the filler words and repeated phrases I used. My inner speech evaluator would've tried to find a nice, supportive way to tell me to improve my eye contact and speech organization. My inner audience would quietly pass along scribbled-on evaluation sheets telling me I lacked my usual energy and enthusiasm, and that I used too much jargon.

My friends from the Philippines would've dragged me off for some hot chocolate to help me recover.

It was tough. I felt so drained on my way home. Hmm, that could also have been due to lack of sleep. (Another thing I needed to fix!) I can't really blame the audience or on the topic. I just have to become a better speaker.

And I _really_ wanted to get people hooked on social bookmarking! I think it's a mind-blowing thing for discovering, organizing, and sharing new websites. THIS IS A COOL IDEA! I want to evangelize it!

Siiigh. So I'm still crappy as a technical speaker. The wearable computing talks I did before were pretty okay--I was happy about those--but then again, I did _those_ four or five times. This one was a first run (second, if you count my tagging speech at Toastmasters), and it was really, really rough.

It was so rough that I briefly considered hiding under a rock and not speaking tomorrow. But then, how am I going to learn if I don't get out there and try it out?

I didn't know what to do, so I called my mentor, Paul Wilson. Toastmasters International is really big on mentoring.

Paul was _amazing._ He let me blubber about the speech for a minute or two, a tangled mess of nerves and stress and self-doubt. He then gently helped me sort out my main issues. Here's what was bothering me:

- <b>Low energy.</b> I was a little drained because I slept late and I

got up earlier than I really needed to. I started off with a bit of energy and passion, but I couldn't sustain it long enough to warm the crowd up. I know how to deal with this one: sleep early!

- <b>Low audience attentiveness.</b> Perhaps it was a matter of

drinking water out of a firehose: too many good ideas in too short a time meant that people were still trying to absorb the idea of blogs and wikis when I started talking about social computing. Perhaps it was a matter of low energy. Three hours is a long time to sit still, even if you're doing demos...

- <b>Uncertain time.</b> Being the last presenter meant that I had to

make up for any shortfall in the schedule. I dropped a lot from my presentation, but I still went overtime. I also caught myself getting slightly agitated while waiting, and then repeating some points because of stress.

- <b>Long waits for website response.</b> I depended too much on being

able to interact with del.icio.us. (After all, it's a hands-on workshop! People are supposed to be able to play with it!) I wasn't sure if people really played with it in the end, as they were probably frustrated by the time it took for del.icio.us to respond.

Paul was totally awesome. He didn't just pull up a few websites for me to read. No, he shared stories from his personal experience. He'd been there. He'd done that. _And_ he showed me how I could do it too. He pointed out the good stuff in my previous speeches, the strengths I could tap to address the challenges I face tomorrow. As I listened to him share tips on how to get over those bumps, I realized that _this_ is what mentoring is.

It's an awesome experience.

Here's what I learned from him:

- <b>Variety.</b> If I'm worried about people's energy level, I can

open with a physical activity. If I think people's minds are drifting, I can change gears to help them pay attention. They _want_ to pay attention, so I need to make it easy for them. (He had a light, endearing opener that I think I'll steal...)

- <b>Story.</b> Stories are good. Stories are a powerful technique. In

particular, stories might be better suited to my speaking style. I learned that people like my stories more than straight information-dense speeches by speech #2. I was worried that people would expect and need straight technical speeches at CASCON, but maybe I'll actually be better off focusing on one clear, simple message and telling a real story around it.

- <b>Humor.</b> I had a lot of fun with wordplay and surprise during

my speech on procrastination. I learned how to 'set up and punch', as Greg said. If I can find places to use surprise in my speech, then it'll be a lot more fun.

See, I _know_ these things on a surface level. I read books and blogs about public speaking. But hearing them from a mentor who cares about helping me succeed, who's heard me speak before, who knows my strengths and weaknesses and goals...


I'm going to keep learning. I'm going to keep trying. And someday I'm going to Figure This Thing Out.

4. Another thing I noticed...

Categories: None -- Permalink
We totally dropped this aspect of the talk.
11:40-12:00 Discussion of personal networking tools such as LinkedIn and Friendster, Classmates, etc.

Pity. That's also fun.

I think I need to stick up for myself and get the other people to follow time.

1:00-1:15 Introduction
1:15-1:40 Very brief history of blogs, how to read blogs and comment on the entries
1:40-2:00 Attendees create their own blog, comment in the course blog, build dialogue
2:00-2:30 Explanation of tagging technology, including del.icio.us and Flickr
2:30-3:00 Establish accounts on del.icio.us and Flickr
3:00-3:15 Discussion of Creative Commons and IP licensing
3:15-3:30 BREAK
3:30-3:45 Demonstration of video blogs, mblogging, etc.
3:45-4:05 Discussion of personal networking tools such as LinkedIn and Friendster, Classmates, etc.
4:05-4:20 Open accounts as appropriate, explore tools.
4:20-4:30 Attendees will install feedreader, configure and apply settings.
4:30-4:45 Discussion of RSS, feedreading and overview of podcasting
4:45 Wrap up

This is the schedule for tomorrow.

I want that 15 minute break!