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How to be a Rock Star at SEU16


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Engineers are shy people. I get that. I'm a shy person, aside from the fact that my day job entails being a public voice for a product, I take a back seat when I can, I avoid crowds, I don't really seek attention. Just like you.


But when it comes to Solid Edge University, and sharing information that I know other people really want to know, something changes. And really, I'm just like you, an engineer who would rather work with numbers than people, rather work in a dark quiet area than constantly being bothered by whatever... So I think that you can probably step up and share some information with a bunch of other shy people just like us. At Solid Edge University. It's easy.


The title of the blog post is maybe a bit exaggerated. You don't really have to become a star or even want to become a star. You can just be yourself, your shy self, and share information that other people want to know with your friends. Remember in a technical session presentation at SEU, the people in the room (usually about 20-30 or so) really want you to succeed. So they are on your side. Nobody is hostile at these events, no one is going to ridicule you for stumbling on a word, or anything like that. Believe me, I've been there, and I've made mistakes. SEU audiences are very forgiving. Start out with a joke (make it a clean one) and everyone will feel more relaxed. You're just talking to friends that you don't know yet.


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And then there's the financial side. We will cover your conference admission fee - that's worth several hundred bucks. Could you overcome your shyness for 45 minutes for a few hundred bucks? Yeah, I think you can.


First, you need a topic. The best topic is something you really know the hell out of. Something you do every day, and have good success with. Here's a list of the types of things you might select as a topic:

  • Material Table
  • Surface Modeling in Solid Edge
  • Sheet metal
  • ST9 Blocks in Sketch
  • Topdown design using Assembly Layout and ST9 Blocks
  • Assembly Configurations
  • Wire harness
  • Frame Design
  • Piping
  • Simulation
  • Dimension and Drawing View Style Mapping         
  • Parts Lists and other tables          
  • Value formatting with Property Text
  • Deep Dive into Drawing View Properties and  Queries        
  • Identify low precision  geometry in an imported model and repair it

You should use your own data, it will be much more interesting that way. Don't use a demo set or something from training materials that people have already seen a bunch of times.


Make an outline of what you want to say. Not everyone is a Powerpoint genius, but here's the secret to Powerpoint: It's just an outline. A Powerpoint presentation uses about 2 minutes per slide, so figure 20 some slides at the most. And then the best SEU presentations use the Solid Edge software live for much or most of the presentation, just use the Powerpoint for text or graphs or images or whatever.


The great thing about an outline is that it allows you to organize your thoughts. Start with big ideas, and add details where appropriate. Some topics need to be presented sequentially, for a topic like making a wire harness, there is a definite process.


Practice. Present to your dog. Or the goldfish. Or your 3 year old. Practice at your local Solid Edge user group. Practice in front of your coworkers at lunch. Better yet, do a joint presentation where 2 or 3 of you get up and present together. The more you practice, the more confident you'll feel in your material, and the more refined your message will become. Confidence is really the #1 thing you need to pull off a good presentation. To some extent even more than technical knowledge. If you know everything but have no confidence, presenting will be difficult for you. Gain confidence by practicing.


 You can also ask for help. Get your coworker or manager to offer suggestions after seeing you practice. Or send your presentation to me, and I can give you some pointers.



So. What you need to become a rockstar at SEU is just this:

  1. A great topic from the list above
  2. Knowledge of the topic
  3. A good outline of your story
  4. A bit of practice
  5. A plane ticket to Indianapolis
  6. A good clean joke to get the ball rolling at your presentation at SEU16
Gears Honored Contributor

A common inhibition with knowledgeable Edgers is the notion that because they know a subject very well, others around too know it 'equally' well, which is not true.


Most people attending a particular session at SEU may already be knowing about the feature or functionality in Solid Edge to an extent, but there is always something 'extra' that they want to learn, beyond the realms of the help files, from the speaker's experience coming from past experimenting or mistakes and which is worth sharing with everyone.


Hence, the realisation that most people in the audience are there to learn more about a topic than to scrutinize the speaker's knowledge and experience should be impetus enough to stand up and speak at either a group meet or the SEU classes.




We normally don't disagree but I'm going to have to disagree with you on one point. You shouldn't "know the hell out of it [your topic]."


I've found that the best presentations are ones where you are not the expert; where you engage the audience and pull from their experiences. Convert your presentation to more of a collaborative event. Bring in a topic, discuss what you understand of the technology/function/process and how your organization is leveraging it or planning to leverage. Then engage your audience. Ask how they are using it or might implement. Discuss how your process might be improved or how your outputs might be leveraged in other areas of the business. This is your ROI for attending.


These events provide a safe environments where learning and exchanges of ideas happen. Being a rock star doesn't mean being a expert. Heck, look at the Led Zepplin band members...some of them can't read music! 


Here's some PowerPoint tips for Engineers! Keep in mind this is a presentation...not a dissertation.


1. Don't read your slide!

Spoken and written language are different animals. Spoken is much shorter and less formal!


2. Don't EVER use bullet lists

If you need to list things then provide a handout (at the end!) as a supplemental document. If your talking points are three or four lines of information then the person viewing your slide will have it read in 20 seconds and waiting on you to elaborate- they are bored. I can't count the amount of time I've spent in "meetings" that are just covering basic information that could have been emailed or put together in MS Word and emailed!


3. Limit the amount of text and images on a slide

This is one of those things that Siemens PLM is finally coming to realize- less is better. If you have seen any SPLM presentations in the 10 years or so you will know what I mean! If you need to include text then make sure it is very limited. Make sure your images tie into what you are talking about at the moment. 


4. Don't stick with default fonts

Choose a font and font size that people can see in back of the room! You want people to focus on what you are saying not what they are seeing. If you are following the previous rules you can have two or three words that are using a 72 point font! Here size and shapes of fonts have an impact.


4. Why stick with a default 4:3 layout for all your slides? 

Use your visual tools for the biggest impact. There is NO reason you can't have a banner size layout for your first slide! Or maybe [gasp] a 16:9 page layout! After all the days of a 4:3 monitor are history and we are all tired of the black space around the edges of the projected area!


Hey, think of things this way.

  • You are a designer: Be creative but remember minimal cost! No unnecessary "features" on your slide.
  • For the engineer: Keep it short, simple and sweet. And for sake of your audience don't go to far into the technical weeds!
Siemens Phenom

To reiterate what @RyanM said, slides are cheap -- they cost nothing!  Only place one point per slide with a single bold graphic that is relevant to that point, and make that one point stand out with large fonts.

This is my goto for when I need to create my presentations:


Gears Phenom

+1 Live demo

I think this is the most important (for me). Audiences will see that it works in the real life too. I like using because it gives a individual feeling.


(ps.: Good luck, it seems I have to miss SEU2016).




So, @RyanM, are you coming? Maybe you could give a presentation?


@Imics, you're not going to be there? Oh, no! I didn't get to see you this spring either. Won't be the same without you!






I've used Prezi a couple of times and then viewed some presenations that made me sea sick from the fly-in fly around effects. But when used correctly it is a interesting presentation tool.



Things are looking optimistic for a venture to SEU 2016. But no promises yet! Man Happy


@RyanM Pick a presentation topic and you get in for free. Just sayin....

Siemens Legend

All very good tips to keep in mind.


One thing I try to do when I am running Solid Edge is practice what I am showing a lot
and try not to go off script until the end. (And even then I still mess up, you just have to keep going)


Hope to see everyone at SEU16.




P.S. Matt. How did you get my High School and College Yearbook photos for this blog?




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P.S. Matt. How did you get my High School and College Yearbook photos for this blog?

Well, you know, we've had people following you for a while... Just google "pocket protector", and I think a lot of us show up.

Gears Phenom

@MLombard don't worry! I hope this will be the best university!


@RyanM Yes, sometimes less (flying) is more. Smiley Wink Prezi is very similar to Synchronous technology, I'm free when using it.