Speaker Idol is happening again at Tech Ed Developers in Barcelona this fall. You have months to sign up, but only the first 30 are accepted, so if you already know you're headed to Barcelona (and not speaking, live in EMEA, don't work for Microsoft, etc ... full eligibility rules on the contest site) then you want to give this some serious consideration. Speaking as a judge at this year's US event, I can tell you that the experience of trying to do 5 minutes on a topic you know well can only be good. In order of the worst-possible-thing to best, here's what can happen:
- You can do your talk, do OK, not win, and learn nothing from the judges while still failing to impress anyone with your speaking skills. I think this is pretty unlikely, but anyway it would leave you where you were before you tried - no loss
- You can learn some very specific tips on being a better speaker, both from observing other speakers whose content you don't understand, and from the judges giving you ideas
- You can show your skills in front of people who choose speakers - and not just for Tech Ed either
- you get some publicity and bragging rights just by being selected
- You can win a speaking slot at Tech Ed
To enter, you need to make a 3 minute video of yourself presenting on a technical topic, so don't dawdle!
If you are sure you don't want to enter, either because you're already a Tech Ed speaker or because you'd rather die than speak in public, be sure to at least plan to watch. I found it highly entertaining.