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

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at