Slide 23 of my SES PowerPoint presentationNext Tuesday, at about 3:45pm, of my own free will and accord, I will stand up and subject myself to the biggest professional trial of my adult life. I’m speaking to massed ranks of search geeks at SES London, which takes place at the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre, opposite Westminster Abbey.

I’ve spoken in public before. I’ve actually relished the prospect.

The difference this time however is that my audience are not novices in their art, or there because they were told to be (although some of them might). They’re not even friends or family: this won’t be a best man’s speech where I can rely on people being slightly tiddly on cheap (or free) booze, even if it is the first session after lunch.

And I hear the food is terrible …

No, they’ll be clued-up, intelligent, critical types, looking for real insights and not happy to be fobbed off with repackaged stats and secondhand opinions.

Out of the shadows

SESLON13 Speaking TileUntil this year I was one of them. I used to look forward to “SES” or “SMX” or “LBW out for 30 before lunch”, or whatever the latest acronym is (better an acronym I s’pose than the more cringeworthy “Search Love”, and that ilk). It used to be that three days at a conference would give me months of facts and thoughts to mull over, mash up and memorise. And I too used to complain if the expected revelations didn’t appear.

Anyway, this time the boot’s on the other foot.

I’ve more or less finished the presentation. It looks quite stylish. But is it style over substance? Only time will tell I guess.

Anyway, if I do royally screw it up I can always fall back on some ribald stories about the groom’s childhood. Right?

STOP PRESS: I’ve run it past my boss, Lisa Myers, no stranger to the conference platform herself, and received a general thumbs up. Tomorrow I’m giving the rest of the agency a chance to shoot me down in flames. By Tuesday, I’ll have it licked!