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. 

Advertisements

Oops, I did it again!

No, I am not talking about Brittany Spears; one blog post could not possibly define or explain that child!

I am talking about SQL User Groups!  I opened my mouth for a brief second and sure enough I was shocked and surprised by what came out of it.

“I will present at the November meeting.”

What the heck did I just say? What did I just volunteer my self to do? I really need to learn to take my wife’s advice.  “Just say NO”  LOL

Any way, on to picking a topic to present. One of the most intriguing things for me as a SQL DBA is performance tuning. The ability to push the limits and make queries go faster!  I get excited when I figure out how to shave milliseconds of off of a query.

For me the best way to approach performance is to try and develop your queries and indexes correctly from the start.  My presentation, “Indexes and Execution Plans”, will begin with a brief overview of indexes and execution plans; how to read them and to use them to your advantage in development. I will then give code examples on how to use execution plans to determine the best need (if any) for indexes.

See you all on November 11th at the Louisiana Tech Park on Florida. customLogo

My presentation and code will be available after the user group meeting.

Hostile Takeover

Last night, I had the privilege of presenting to the Baton Rouge SQL Server User Group (@BRSSUG).  This was my 2nd time presenting to the group and I hope it was as informational as it was enjoyable for me.

The Nuts and Bolts of the presentation

The whole premise of the presentation was to outline and layout what to do when you are given a SQL Server to manage.  In some cases you may “discover” a new SQL Instance on your network and not have access to it.  I presented one method of gaining access through what I call a “hidden door”.

I am a big supporter (even though I don’t do it as often as I should) of documentation!  PowerKnowledge is Power and as our friendly neighborhood Spiderman would say “With great power comes great responsibility”.

What type of information do you need to collect and document on?  I explained several bits of information that I gather on a regular basis and gave several tips and demonstrated some wonderful scripts from people much smarter than I am on how to collect this information.  I have been using these scripts in “My SQL Toolbox” for a  long time.

Here is the slide-deck I used last night with all the links to the various tools of “people smarter than me” that I use on a regular basis. 

And the Winner Is……..?

Last night, I got to “present” for the first time at the Baton Rouge SQL Server User Group (@BRSSUG).  In a not so normal fashion, we played an electronic version SQL Jeopardy that I created.

Not trying to be “vain”; but I think a lot of people had fun.  A couple of people learned some things and I most of all, learned very valuable lessons.

Lessons Learned

  1. Just because this was not a “real” presentation, I still need to spell check!
  2. The animations and audio built into the program was a hit!  It seems the simplest things make people smile.
  3. Be sure to double check my facts before including them in the game.

Of course I also learned a lot of SQL information putting the game together.  I had fun, it was enjoyable and hopefully it can become a reoccurring event at User Group meetings.

Version 2.0

I hope to create a next version with and Administration Section so one can mange the Categories, Questions, and answers.  Also would like to figure out a way to keep score.

Until Next time…