Chris speaks on Mobile Working for the ASB Practitioner

ReACT’s approach to public speaking

The idea of presenting in front of a room full of people is one that regularly strikes fear into the majority of us! ReACT’s Chris Powell reflects on that very experience as he took centre-stage at HouseMark’s Annual ASB Conference.

For the first time in my 8 years working for ReACT I was given the opportunity of attending HouseMark’s annual ASB Conference. I thought this was an excellent opportunity for me to learn a thing or two about the world of ASB that I hadn’t picked up on before when working with our customers. The bit that I wasn’t prepared for was the fact that I would then be asked to take one of the afternoon break-out sessions.

As a non-ASB practitioner, I had to think of something that would be interesting for the attendees and something that wouldn’t be a repeat or a similar topic to anything else on the day. I’d been working a lot on our Mobile version of ReACT at the time, so I thought what better topic than mobile working. Next up was to submit my proposal for the session that very same afternoon – “Effective mobile working for ASB practitioners” – that was it!

It was then down to content, and sketching my thoughts out on paper as to what I would talk about, but then I remember all those presentations through college and university, it was all about how long the presentation had to last, then build it up from there! Forty-five minutes was the target time, I’d been explicitly told I couldn’t run over, and also I couldn’t finish it too much earlier either. Challenge accepted!



I’ve sat through quite a few PowerPoints the last couple of years, and I find that it’s very difficult to just sit and listen, so I wanted to make mine interactive with plenty of discussion points. Designing my slides, rather than telling people about mobile working, my approach was to ask them about what their thoughts and experiences are, then to draw comparisons with my technical background. My slide design turned out to be 9 slides, where I would have a discussion point on each, such as functionality, cost, security and availability. I had my notes written out for when the room was quiet and also put some pointers on the slides in the hope to generate some discussion.

On the day, I had to wait until 2:20pm to present my break-out session, but what a fulfilling morning and afternoon it was – I was hoping my session could follow form. I found that quite a bit of the morning related to my session and gave me further ammunition for when the room falls quiet.

Immediately at twenty past, I was introduced to the room and my attendees – including someone from HouseMark – by Mike Blomer, then it was over to me. Each slide ticked over after the previous and people were joining in, raising hands, and even bringing up related topics I’d not thought of, it was excellent. I felt that the attendees were learning some of the more technical side of producing mobile applications, and on the other hand, I was picking up quite a few interesting points from the ASB practitioners themselves. My earlier concerns about making time on the session were soothed when I made it to my Q&A section with 5 minutes to go – and then at full time, Mike had to draw a close on some extensive discussions.

I’ll be writing soon about the content of my session, so it’d be good hear of your experiences with mobile working in your field. You can contact me directly here and tell me more.

For ReACT’s review of the HouseMark ASB conference, read Mike Blomer’s latest post here.