Why I Speak at BILT – Michael Dunn
By the end of 2014, I probably held the ignominious privilege of attending the most RTCs without ever having spoken at one. I was there when it all began way back in 2005 with around 80 of us sitting in one room in the Blue Mountains listening to experts, mostly from the Sydney user group, speak about documentation, modelling, massing, etc.; in Revit. I learnt a lot. We also drank the bar dry (a record yet to be bettered in successive conferences?). I kept learning as I attended every Revit Conference held in Australia and New Zealand (plus one in Canada to boot) over the coming years.
The people I went to see speak were all experts in their fields and, for the most part, accomplished speakers as well. Whilst I was reasonably knowledgeable in Revit, I always felt I was a step or two behind these presenters – what could I speak about that these people didn’t already know? In the intervening years, I actually gathered a lot of experience presenting – I took up teaching Revit to tertiary students in 2009 and developed the curriculum for the campus I was teaching at. I co-founded the local Revit user group in 2012 and often presented at it. In fact, I found myself having trouble getting other attendees to speak. “We don’t know as much about the software as you do so we wouldn’t be able to teach you anything!,” they would proclaim. And my retort, “Even the most experienced users can benefit from another viewpoint. There are a thousand ways to tackle a problem and it’s always great to see something from a fresh perspective.” Ah-ha! Caught in my own trap!
And so I submitted an abstract for the 2015 conference on the Gold Coast, got accepted and presented for the first time. I also presented at this year’s BILT NA in Toronto (which means I’ve also attended every conference in Canada!) and that was a fantastic experience. My topics weren’t the most advanced, I’m no Marcello, Konrad or Adam Sheather… However, people did still come up to me afterwards and say they had gotten something valuable from my presentations.
So, I guess the message is we all have something of value to share and presenting at a BILT conference is a fabulously rewarding way of doing so!