Today was the big day!
Day one of the Appian World 2012 conference and I was to present a case study of the EBRD’s journey of business process management over the last seven years at 10:30 – just after the first couple of keynote presentations from the CEO of Appian and Gartner.
Before I saw the size of the room, I was remarkably calm.
Afterwards…. Less so!
The room they described as ‘the Ballroom’ in the Reston Hyatt was aptly named and there was supposedly 650 people due to be attending the conference. I tried to rationalise and quell my nerves and convince myself that after the first 30 people, it really wouldn’t make that much difference anyway.
The first couple of presentations were interesting, as they went into new features with the Appian BPM tool with the themes of the convergence of mobile, collaboration and social media in enterprises, and although I had trouble really concentrating on them, I was pleased that my own presentation at least picked up on those themes.
The conference had a break for coffee and the usual opportunity for networking and discussion of the topics already covered, but for me it was the chance for a final visit to the ‘restroom’ before getting ‘miked’ up (making sure I performed the tasks in the right order to avoid any embarrassing comedy moments).
And then it was time and there was no more chance for practising, making notes or exercising my voice like and opera singer warming up to avoid my throat drying up.
In the end, I think it went very well. The subject was a bit dry and factual as we (the EBRD) are not able to provide any product endorsements, and if I was to do it again I think I would make some changes to lighten things up a bit. I would also try to do a little less reading from the notes that I had made, in order to be ‘safe’ in the eventuality of freeze-ups – as they say, hope for the best, prepare for the worst.
Still, after that point, I could at least relax a bit and concentrate of other aspects and subjects covered at the conference.
The day was a hot one, and because we’d started a 7am, I hadn’t had the chance to go outside until 5pm when the day finished, so I thought I’d get a quick run in before joining the cocktail session, which was 1 1/2 hours before supper.
I’m not sure if it was the run from the previous day, the latent adrenaline of the morning’s activities, the simple heat and humidity of the day or a combination of all three, but a quick 10k running down the undulating trail again, turned into the toughest run I’ve done in ages.
To add the final insult, when I got back time had run away with me and I only had 15 minutes to cool down, shower and change ready for dinner, so something had to give and from the list above, the only thing to be carried out in parallel was the cooling down. Not ideal.
The jug of iced water on the table was replenished several times and after an hour into the meal I had stopped perspiring.
How am I going to manage in the desert again? 😯