My first time, lessons learned!
This past weekend, I had the privilege of doing a presentation at SQL Saturday #514 in Houston Texas. I had been to other SQL Saturdays before as both a participant and a “volunteer”; but I had never have spoken before.
Speaking in front of people is usually no big deal to me. I have been designing, presenting, hosting and administrating all types of training for the Boy Scouts for many, many years. I have taught Scouting newbies how to tie a knot to presenting on topics like “Project Planning and SMART goals” (email me if you want to know what SMART goals are). I have even coordinated an all day training event very similar to SQL Saturday for my Council called University of Scouting.
But what was different about this experience was the topic. I have been active in the Boy Scouts since I was eleven. I know Scouting information, concepts, and topics backwards and forwards. I have been facilitating trainings (presenting) since I was 15. So Scouting is 2nd nature to me. But presenting on SQL Server topics was somewhat nerve wracking. For me it was a test of not my presenting abilities; but my SQL DBA abilities. As an “Accidental DBA” I have always questioned my abilities with SQL Server. Everything I have learned about computers I have learned my self, so I am always 2nd guessing myself.
As a “First timer”, I thought it would be best to cover Beginning Level topics. My thought was 1) I knew the material and 2) after reading Tim Ford’s #EntryLevelChallenge it motivated me to remember my fellow newbies.
I won’t go into the topic of my presentation today as this is more about the experience. The audience, which I had 14 in attendance, was very attentive and I don’t think I put anyone to sleep!
I do need to work on my demos. They all worked as expected; but switching between laptop and projector, throwing SSMS on the projector screen, changing screen settings from duplicate to extend was all too much. There has to be a better way to switch between PowerPoint in presentation mode and SSMS to do demo. So I will practice that.
I thought I did best on time management. The time allotted was 60 minutes, I said “Thank you for your time” at 59 minutes and 30 seconds.
Over all the experience was well worth it. By the responses I received from the speaker evaluations, I think I did an OK job. I had no major criticisms except to slow down, I assure you that was nerves at the beginning.