First off, THANKS to all the great class attendees - it's always very humbling and exciting to have great crowds in the classes. Everyone played along and put up with all the corny jokes and country music....as well as the confetti and marshmellows (apologies to the cleaning crew). I'm always honored to have the opportunity to do this - and hopefully help you be as excited about the technology and motivated about your future. The tools continue to get better and better, so there's much to look forward too.
What makes the AU classes different from traditional training classes and venues? I think my motivation comes from a variety of different sources - but the key source was to sit through classes that I didn't enjoy or that bored me to tears. I was never a great student - maybe because I despised book reader style instructors. The ones I remember the most (such as Frank Pattenelli, my physics prof in college that was a retired engineer that didn't have to work, but taught because he enjoyed it) are the ones that related what I was learning to real life. They spent as much time focusing on why this was important to me and my career - rather than simply approaching the material as "you have to have my course to graduate".
But AU is not a typical class - you're trying to reach 100-200 people at once and hopefully coming up with a common thread that interests all - and that's where the humor comes in. My mother has been a family nurse practictioner and motivational speaker to healthcare groups for many years, and was published in a couple of books about humor in the medical profession (talk about a tough topic). She'll dress up like Minnie Pearl (if you don't know who this is, you may be too young to read this, so try google) and start every session off with a big "HOW-DEE"! Over the years, I've had many people come up to me and tell me that's what they remember - her humor and her honest passion for the profession.
You can't deliver an memorable session unless you really believe in what you're doing, so the key is to stand out from the crowd - if you're not passionate about what you're teaching, it's impossible for that to carry through to your audience. I've always throughly enjoyed my work, and that helps. Having the backing of my company to participate has been essential, but wanting to be there and share the passion is what makes it successful.
Make the topic is something you know well enough that you can present without reading from the script - your own confidence in the topic will carry through to others. If they can watch you do the work without having to check yourself or flip through a handout, they'll believe they can do this, too.
And the most important part is to simply HAVE FUN - you only have 90 minutes in most cases, so find a topic that's important to you, and tell people why - and be able to laugh at any situation. The ones that take themselves too seriously are the ones that miss the point, so don't be afraid to put the clown glasses on and have a little fun (especially when it's at someone else's or your own expense).
Once again, thanks for making the event as much fun for me as I hope it was for you - and I hope the technical content was helpful as well. As soon as the new AU site is up, I'll get some extras posted for you to my course pages...so stay tuned, and we'll see you next year!
thanks - David B.