Friday, November 08, 2013

SWE Conference--My Big Day!

Keynote Breakfast

The main events of the conference kicked off the day after the iScream Social. I started the day off bright and early with the Keynote Breakfast. The topic of the speech was on getting recognized and being visible. The most interesting example was her point of "using the right currency". In other words, you need to frame up your requests in a way that is relevant and interesting to other people. Get in their shoes. Think from their perspective. It's something that I think most of us know, intuitively, but fail to implement.

From the breakfast I was off and running. I caught one session before lunch, one after, and then hopped over to the room where I would be presenting!

My Session

There was only a 15 minute hand off time between sessions, and no chance to practice before hand, so I was a bit paranoid. However, the set up was easy and I was able to start at 2:45 on the dot. The room was packed. I had been told the room would hold 125 people and it was standing room only when I started. I lost a few people half way through due to some scheduling oddities ("lightening talks" ran during other sessions, causing people to bounce in and out). The presentation itself went really well, I whizzed through it a bit faster than intended but we had a robust Q&A session and it left a little extra time for the next speaker to get set up. I made a few mental notes for next time (ask more questions, build in audience interaction) but overall, it was a great run for my first time speaking at conference!

After my session, I turned in my evaluation forms and, in the course of doing so, met a professor of Product Development! I was so excited to meet someone else familiar with the academic side of the field. We've exchanged contact info and I hope to stay in touch.

Then it was off to my final session of the day. Of the three sessions I attended that day, my favorite was on Root Cause and Corrective Action analysis. Not only was the information useful, but the speakers were excellent. They made a potentially dry subject entertaining and demonstrated its real world application. They are an inspiration on how to be a better speaker. I also really enjoyed a session which focused on a "performance contract" to be created between employees and managers. Some real food for thought both as an employee and a someday manager.

Once the formal sessions had wrapped up, I met my friends up for dinner.


Lunch had been a mini burger and a small salad. Dinner was a delicious salmon and asparagus meal. It was tasty enough that I did not regret forgoing one of my usual favorites--the fettuccine alfredo. And it had the benefit of a far ranging conversation and caffeine.

Recharged after dinner, we popped in for the last few minutes of the career fair kick off (I picked up some awesome reuseable bags from Kimberly Clark, always my favorite giveaways of the event). As they shut down, people filtered into the hospitality suites sponsored by various companies. We picked up free ice cream at one and said hello to people we knew in several of the others.

With the hospitality suites still going strong, we headed back to our room for a little bit of down time and some much appreciated sleep. Tomorrow would be another busy day.

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