Some weeks ago I proposed to the INETA Europe board a set of regulations to become INETA Speaker for the local speakers bureau.
For those who do not know the local bureau, it is a pilot program to provide the user groups with speakers from their own region. The idea born to solve the main problems UG faced when they wanted to request speakers from the European bureau, the problems where mainly related to translation and higher logistical costs implied when somebody comes from different countries.
Today I wanted to write not about those specific rules, but about what makes a good speaker for the .NET User Groups.
If you have participated in any of the events done by companies like Microsoft, Google, Apple, etc. or even the .NET User Groups you have probably seen different styles to communicate the same thing. We have a clear example with Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer and I’m not going to start a new debate to know who is better. But we have many other things that make the speakers different from each other, you can find people who has a great knowledge and people who knows less, speakers who joke a lot others who are very formal, some use a lot of demos to complement the theory…
So, what makes a good speaker ?
I think a good speaker is not the one who has a lot of knowledge and tries to prove it, but the one who is able to communicate the message. Somebody who is not rambling and presents the content clear and easy to understand. A good communicator is able to express and defend ideas well, but not tries to influence people (remember I’m talking about a speaker for .NUGs not a sales man).
All speakers must be well prepared to explain the contents of a session, but must not be afraid of making mistakes or not knowing an answer. I personally hate when somebody tries to answer at any cost. Really, there is no problem if you don’t know an answer, you will not be considered a loser because nobody can know everything.
In my opinion those things makes you a good speaker. If you are very formal, you use sense of humor, you wear jacket and tie or T-shirt with casual snickers, that’s just your personal style.
Therefore if you think you are a good speaker, stay tuned for TechEd 2008 and participate in the Speaker Idol contest.