In 2016, I hosted the November edition of T-SQL Tuesday. My chosen theme was Growing New Speakers. I challenged new prospective speakers to use their blogs as a first step toward giving their very first presentation. And I followed through by mentoring some of those who participated. It was a very successful personal project resulting in a number of participants giving their very first sessions throughout 2017.
Today I'm pleased to announce the next phase of my personal endeavor to "grow new speakers." I've created a new professional development session focused on helping attendees build their first presentation. It is entitled "Everyone Has a Story to Tell: Developing Your First Presentation" and I am thrilled to be debuting it at SQL Saturday Nashville, on January 13, 2018.
Allow me to share a bit of my personal story. In May of 2012, I attended my very first SQL Saturday in Chicago. I was in awe of the variety of sessions, taught by a wide range data professionals who surely knew far more than I did! After all, they're speakers – they must all be cutting-edge experts! At that time, I never imagined I could ever do what they do. I'm not a walking, talking Books Online. No one would take me seriously if I gave a presentation.
But I did decide that regardless of that perceived shortcoming, the one thing I could do without faking SQL Server expertise was volunteer at these events. We can all help out and that's how I began to get involved. Subsequently, through my volunteering efforts, I got to meet many regular SQL Saturday speakers. I got to know them, become friends with them, and most importantly, realize that I was not that much different from them. And I began to question the self-doubt that was holding me back. Maybe I actually could do this speaking thing?
In August of 2013, I attended SQL Saturday Indianapolis. The morning after, I encountered Allen White eating breakfast in our hotel. I didn't know him personally at the time but certainly knew of him professionally. I somehow mustered up some courage to say hello and asked if he minded some company – of course he graciously invited me to join him!
During our meal together, he shared a very important lesson with me. "Everybody has a story to tell." Just about everything in SQL Server has been discussed from dozens of angles and perspectives. But each one of us will have a different way of talking about it and teaching it.
Consider when you search for the answer to a challenge and you find several blog posts. The first one might not make sense to you, so you proceed to the next, then the next, until you finally strike upon one that finally addresses your question in a way you understand. You and your story can be that answer to someone else out there.
And I want to help guide you, so you can tell your story.
If you've even toyed with the idea of giving your own presentation, but still were not sure where to start, then I hope my new session is the inspiration you need to get jump started. It is split into four segments: Create, Develop, Build, and Present, full of guidance and tips to help you along your way.
Interested but cannot be at SQL Saturday Nashville? Not to worry! I plan on submitting this presentation to other SQL Saturdays throughout 2018. Additionally, I am planning on offering it here via a SentryOne webinar and am happy to present it for any interested Virtual Chapters too.
Even if you're not actively considering giving a presentation, at least consider attending this session. Just think about it. You might be inspired!