TechEd Europe 2007 Speaker Idol Final

All this week at TechEd the NxtGen boys (Richard Costall, Dave McMahon, John Price) have been hosting Speaker Idol and I have been lucky to have been one of the judges. Waves of 3 and 4 contestants on each day since Monday have competed by giving a 5 minute presentation to an impromptu TechEd audience and set of judges. I get a real buzz out of seeing good presenters exercising their skill and this experience takes me back to one of the most enjoyable jobs that I have had which was being the trainer on Borland’s Train The Trainer programme.

The winners of each wave on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday went through to the Speaker Idol Finals on Thursday afternoon. There really were some great presentations and the exercise showed that there are some really talented people out there who haven’t yet managed to break into the TechEd speaker circuit. I have to give a special mention to Bilal Haidar (Lebanon) who came second in wave 4 and for me was the best runner up of all of the waves. He delivered his presentation with such energy and enthusiasm that I think he would be great to listen to for a whole session.

The four finalists were Bill Ayres (United Kingdom), Maciej Pilecki (Poland), Karl Davies-Barrett (Malta) and Jeff Wharton (Australia). They made our (the judges’) lives very difficult as each speaker had obviously improved since their original presentation as a result, hopefully, from the feedback they had received. Four top quality presentations made the final very close and the decisions were no longer based on what mistakes anyone had made (I don’t recall any of note) but rather on tiny degrees of particular excellence. Congratulations to Jeff Wharton, MCT and user group leader in Australia who was crowned TechEd Europe 2007 Speaker Idol Winner and as a result has won a speaker place into TechEd Europe 2008. Jeff was absolutely delighted and was still delighted well into the next morning. Also congratulations to Karl Barrat-Davies who made second place and won a free ticket to TechEd Europe 2008.

Want to get into speaking ? Put it in your calendar for next year. The rules for TechEd Europe 2008 are subject to change but at present they are that you must be a TechEd Europe 2008 delegate (otherwise how would you give your presentation ?), you must not be a speaker at TechEd Europe 2008 (either TechEd Developers or TechEd IT Forum) and you must not be advertising a non-Microsoft product. You might also like to have a read of "How To Give Great Presentations" on the Resources page.

Technorati Tags: TechEd, TechEd Europe 2007, Speaker Idol, Jeff Wharton, Karl Davies-Barrett, Maciej Pilecki, Bill Ayres, Bilal Haidar, Richard Costall, Dave McMahon, John Price