This is about my first SQL Saturday speaking experience.
I’ve seen a lot of great sessions by PASS community members over the last 5 years, and thought I’d like to give it a try. Local events here on my island are few and far between, so its been easy to not do anything about it. But since I’ve taken on the lead of the local SQL Server user group I suddenly have an opportunity to give presentations locally. One thing leads to another and I submitted a session to SQL Saturday Edmonton and was selected as a speaker.
The process of putting together the presentation was interesting. Taking a topic and breaking it down into a logical progression of theory and instruction took longer than I thought it would. I learned that indeed, the best way to learn a thing is to prepare to teach it! Even though I’ve had lots of hands-on experience with the topic I presented, I was still forced to learn the parts I’d never needed to use, and its history, and to look for alternatives, etc.
I gave the talk locally before heading to SQL Saturday. I had been nervous about getting questions, but turns out I don’t mind getting questions because I got lots of them both times and I think I handled them well. The questions were generally of the “I’m having a light bulb moment and need to ask you if this tool will help me with my issue” type rather than the “you’re not explaining this well and I have to ask for clarification” type, which gave me a sense that the asker was really getting something out of the presentation.
I figured I’d be nervous during the presentation and prone to forget some important points, so I loaded my PowerPoint with notes for my own reference. This worked well enough when I presented the session locally at the user group, but at SQL Saturday the connection was such that the audience saw what was on my screen, so no presenter view for me! No notes or timer! Big oops. I got off to a rocky start and I know I missed some points. Maybe a lot of them.
Lesson learned: if I need notes, have them on paper, too. Also have some other timer handy.
Fooled you, there’s no ugly. I’m glad I did it. I plan to do it again. I asked for session evaluations and got 6. I’m well aware that it could have gone better (see The Bad) but the evaluations were positive. Between the evaluations and the questions, I’m confident that at least some people got something out of the session. That’s enough for me to keep at it.