Home » Conferences, Mistakes, Personal » German DevCon Day 1: Where nightmares come true

The most common nightmare I have as a speaker is showing up for a conference unprepared. So far I have been able to avoid this. The second most common nightmare is completely losing my voice. The third most common nightmare I have is oversleeping. You know, waking up to a phone call from the organizer wondering why I am not starting my session. I have heard stories over the years for a couple people that this happened too, mostly due to some heavy partying the night before. I take pride in the fact that I am always on time for my sessions and prepared, and organizers often count on me to do the early morning sessions because I don’t party.

Today I overslept despite setting up a wake-up call, the television alarm, and my phone as a backup. I did not wake up until Doug Hennig called me almost four hours after the alarms.

I heard the phone ring. I answered it expecting it to be someone from the hotel telling me to wake up. Strange though was the voice sounded a lot like Doug. I think I asked him what time it was. “11:20″, Doug replied. Mental check, my session starts at 11:30. Holy $%#, 10 minutes.

Need computer working so I figured I could log in and get things set up and ready so I can start immediately upon getting in the room. Blue Screen! Seriously?!? Really?!? At this point I thought I might want to wake up from this nightmare. This is not a joke. These are real thoughts. Pinch, nope I am awake, phone says it is 11:21. Reboot the machine and hit shower, dress, login, and run for session room.

I arrived and started my session at 11:35.

The first 5 minutes were the hardest 5 minutes of my presenting life. The adrenaline level was as high as I have experienced in all my years of speaking. I could feel my heart jumping out of my chest as I introduced the session. At the same time I was introducing the session I was trying to figure out where I could cut time, and slow down my racing heart.

Jet lag is obviously killing me this trip. I returned to my room exhausted last night, but could not fall asleep since my body thinks it is dinner time back home. I tried several techniques to sleep and all failed. I got up and called my family and went through my session (which turns out to be a key to delivery this morning), tweeted about the problem of not sleeping, and handled some email for customers. All tasks were done hoping to make me more tired. I ended up falling asleep at 4:30 local time.

All-in-all I was able to convey the information I wanted to share with the people in the room. One of the attendees told me at lunch after the session, after learning I woke up 15 minutes before starting the session, that I did remarkably well considering the experience. In my mind it was definitely not my best work, but appreciate the kind review. I am also hoping the adrenaline levels off some time this afternoon. Wish I could bottle it up for use later.

Thanks to Doug for recognizing my absence and waking me up. Thanks to those who stayed and attended the session. And apologies to Rainer for letting you down this morning. It will not happen again. As a fellow organizer I know how important it is to count on the speakers to show up on time and deliver a good session.

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