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Autodesk University: Should you speak at AU? AEC expert Matt Stachoni says yes

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    Autodesk University: Should you speak at AU? AEC expert Matt Stachoni says yes

    Did you hear that the AU 2015 Call for Proposals is officially open? Time’s a-ticking. You have until May 26 to submit your proposal to speak at AU this year. In case you’re still on the fence, check out what 16-year AU veteran and 11-time AU speaker Matt Stachoni has to say about why speaking at AU is awesome. (If anyone knows, it’s this guy.)
    Matt is 1 of our favorite AEC experts and speakers. He has been using Autodesk software since 1987, and has over 20 years of experience as a CAD and IT manager for architectural and engineering firms. Currently serving as design technology manager at Erdy McHenry Architecture, LLC in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Matt specializes in training architects, engineers, and builders on the applications in Autodesk Building Design Suite. He also implements BIM on the Autodesk Revit software platform, and Autodesk Navisworks project review software. So yeah, he knows his stuff.
    Here’s what he has to say about the experience of speaking at AU.
    AU: Why do you contribute to AU?
    MS: Speaking at AU is exciting and rewarding. I’ve been attending since 1998 and speaking since 2003, and every year I learn something new. I enjoy teaching, and having a positive impact on your peers is really satisfying.
    AU: What surprised you about speaking at AU?
    MS: I was surprised at the amount of work involved in creating the handouts, presentation, and data set materials. But I’ve learned over the years that your class doesn’t need to be a college dissertation. Your speaking time goes by very fast, so it’s important that your content reflect the limited time you have in front of your audience.
    AU: What do you like most about speaking?
    MS: I’ve made some lasting friendships and we always have a good time catching up, so that’s definitely the high point. We have a speakers’ social before the event begins where you can meet the other speakers and make a lot of new friends.
    I also make it a point to assist in as many labs as I can. It’s the easiest money you’ll ever make, and I learn quite a bit.  As a speaker you get access to the conference, so going to classes during your “downtime” (ha!) is well worth it.
    AU: What’s your most memorable moment from AU?
    MS: Sorry, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
    (But I will say hangovers in the dry Vegas air are really, really terrible.)
    AU: What advice would you give someone speaking at AU for the first time?
    MS: Practice your presentation on someone who doesn’t know anything about the subject and get feedback on content, body language, clarity of thought, etc. You’d be surprised how poorly you do the first couple of times, but you’ll get better with time. Be excited, but not loony. Be calm, but not comatose. Be entertaining, but not dopey. Speak normally and remember you have a microphone.
    When teaching software techniques, it’s difficult to ensure students are tracking what you are doing and why. Practice your software moves again and again so you know where to click and when. Use a colored cursor marker to ensure people know where the clicks are.
    Don’t worry about trying to cover every little thing and preparing a large handout. Keep PowerPoint simple, entertaining, and short. Show more pictures. If you show a wall of text people will tune out.
    Attendees are a demanding bunch. Don’t worry if you don’t score perfect 10s your first few times speaking, but take their comments to heart. New speakers either do pretty well or really bomb, and the difference comes down to prep time, content, and how comfortable you are in front of your audience.
    AU: Has your participation in AU changed anything for you professionally?
    MS: As a technical specialist with an Autodesk reseller, AU has definitely helped my teaching ability and improved my presentation skills. I was able to network with others and have more opportunities to speak at other events, such as the Revit Technology Conference.
    AU: What does AU mean to you?
    MS: It means being able to put your best foot forward and teach something you really care about and know by heart. It also means learning new, unexpected ways of working with your Autodesk software from people who are at the top of their field.
    Thanks, Matt. We’ll see you at AU.

    Click here to view the entire blog post.

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