I’ve thought about this a lot over the last few days and really wanted to find a technical topic to write about, but over and over I came back to the same thoughts. This last week I attended two conferences and gave three presentations (one topic twice), and I still can’t believe I’ve given a single technical presentation.
Allen White (b|t) has a famous spiel that he gives before every one of his presentations, encouraging his audience that everyone has something they can teach others. I created my PASS profile in 2011, and that was about the time I first heard Allen present. I remember laughing to myself that I would never be able to do that. Giving presentations during my college years was something I dreaded, why on earth would I volunteer now to do that.
Well, fast forward to June 2018, I gave my first user group presentation. I stepped way out of my comfort zone for that, but since then I have presented 11 additional times. I’ve presented at a mixture of SQL Saturdays, online virtual groups and conferences, and every time I’ve got extremely nervous beforehand, and experienced an unbelievable high after.
This past week I gave my DSC & SQL Server presentation on Friday in Columbus at DogFoodCon (a great conference with a very different crowd than my usual data platform events) and then I gave two sessions at SQL Saturday Pittsburgh.
At this point I still feel like I’m not really a speaker, every time I walk into the speaker room at an event I expect someone to ask what I’m doing in there. However, I’ve received a lot of great feedback, and more importantly had a lot of great conversations with people about things they learnt in my session. I’m getting there.
The other amazing part of this adventure is I’ve had so much fun, I’ve met and become friends with some great people and I’ve traveled as far as Germany to explore the world and deliver my sessions.
I can 100% say I’ve changed my opinion on whether I can become a speaker in this community, and I’ve bought into Allen’s spiel that everyone has something to give back.
If you are reading this and laughing to yourself that it can’t mean you, it does! Maybe you’re not ready to speak, but start a blog and share some things you’ve done – other people are one month behind you, trying to work out how to do what you just did. If writing isn’t your style, go contribute some code to open source software- dbatools and dbachecks are on GitHub and always looking for new contributors. Go squash some bugs or add new functionality.
Thanks again to Alex for the great prompt.