The Emerging Topics track was set up in the main ballroom, so as to allow as many people as wanted to see the talks the ability to do so. It felt good to know that I was presenting on the same stage (or in front of it in my case), as the keynote speakers were. Also, it felt good to get out of my traditional comfort zone. Most of my talks to date have been centered around Weekend Testing or coaching/mentoring other testers. To take on a more "sticky subject" like this was a stretch, and honestly, it was quite fun.
A disclaimer: this talk was modified before I delivered it. I was set to give one kind of talk, and by the end of a session that we were discussing in Test Coach Camp the day before, I decide to give a slightly different version. Ken Pier and Cem Caner and others addressed their own confusion and frustrations about the rhetoric that has led to the marginalization and isolation of skills such as Exploration and Automation. Through this, I realized there was a lot to this discussion that I was not addressing. Further, the points they made fit very well with my chosen topic. With their permission, I tailored my talk to include these aspects.
The net effect was also that, instead of delivering a polished talk with Power Point Slides, I used flip charts to capture the bare basics of the takeaways and used the format to have a more open discussion and query of the ideas. If it seems like a great deal of the talk was rather impromptu, that's because it is. Sometimes serendipity gives us a gift, and the best advice I can give is to run with it. I'm also grateful to all of the participants for their questions and comments at the end. It's given me much to think about and help me to fine tune my presentation.
...and with that, I'll pipe down and let you hear the talk for yourself :).