I think it's an indicator that you've given a sufficient number of public speaking engagements when you're not stressed at all going in. I'm presenting a session at ESC Boston this afternoon (Sept. 22, 2009). Calm as a cucumber. However, I will fess up. I decided to let wisdom prevail and do a quick run-through on the plane of the presentation and to ensure my demo works. This is one of those times when you realize why run-throughs are needed. Presentation? Piece of cake. Demo? Not so much.
I had my laptop scraped a month ago by our IS department because of a networking problem they couldn't resolve, no matter how many driver files they replaced. They decided a brand-new install of Windows XP might be the trick to stop my machine from giving the Blue Screen of Death once a day. Thankfully, it seemed to have cured the problem. However, I've been discovering piece-by-piece all the software I hadn't re-installed along the way. VMWare workstation was one of those. I had installed the VMWare Player, but not the Workstation. As it turns out, the VMWare image I needed to run for my demo wasn't able to run on the Player. Ironic, because I had been using the VMWare Player on a bunch of other images just yesterday and it worked flawlessly. Could be why I had fallen into complacency about testing out my demo.
I'm currently staring at a copy dialog for installing VMWare workstation over our corporate VPN through the conference center WiFi. I started at "168 minutes remaining", but thankfully while writing this blog I'm now down to "134 minutes". If there's any chance that you're attending my session about Creating Dynamic User Interfaces with Adobe Flash, don't worry at all--I've got plenty of time before I talk. Way more than 134 minutes.
Similar to a backup strategy where you only realize you should have made a backup only after something catastrophic happens, I've got another axiom. No matter how many times you've presented or demoed, it always pays to double-check and do a dry run. Thankfully, I did!
I'll post on the ESC Boston presentation after this afternoon...