T-SQL Tuesday #84: Growing New Speakers Round-Up

TSQL2sDay150x150Welcome to this month’s T-SQL Tuesday Round-Up! A few weeks ago, I sent out a call for bloggers and must say that I’m utterly blown away by the response. A whopping FORTY bloggers responded last week with contributions for Growing New Speakers!  Four – zero!  You people are all amazing!!!

I’ve decided to split the list of contributors into three groups.

  • New Speakers: Those who have never presented before!
  • Novice Speakers: Those who have presented just once, just a few times, or perhaps long ago in a galaxy far, far away. Generally if you’ve only spoken a handful of times, been speaking for less than a year, and/or self-identified as a new-ish speaker, you were grouped here.
  • Experienced Speakers: Those who are seasoned speakers.

NEW SPEAKERS

  1. Andrew Pruski-First Foray Into Presenting: @dbafromthecold
    Shares story of first presentation
  2. Angela Tidwell: @angelatidwell
    Writes about things learned at PASS Summit about presenting
  3. Arun Sirpal-SQL Server – Reconfigure: @blobeater1
    Explores RECONFIGURE in a technical blog for a first presentation
  4. Chris Voss: @ceedubvee
    Writes about upcoming first presentations and muses how to progress further
  5. Constantine Kokkinos-Exploring DBA Tools or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love PowerShell: @mobileck
    Blogs about DBATools & Powershell for first presentation
  6. Deb Melkin-If I Were a Speaker…: @dgmelkin
    Explores three ideas for a first presentation
  7. Devon Leann Ramirez: @restinbeachface
    Writes an introduction for first presentation
  8. Jo Douglass: @jodouglass
    Writes about 1st presentation topic idea: surrogate keys as a DW/ETL anti-pattern
  9. Michelle Haarhues-On the Doorsteps: @mhaarhues
    Explores Women In Technology and first presentation about women presenters
  10. Robert Preseau: @robertpreseau
    Writes about overcoming mental obstacles to speaking
  11. Scott Millard-Taking the next step – becoming a speaker: @leftseatsql
    Accepts the challenge to speak
  12. Tywan Terrell: @tyawnterrell
    Writes about T-SQL fundamentals as first presentation topic

NOVICE SPEAKERS

  1. Anthony Nocentino-Public Speaking – The First Time: @nocentino
    Shares an updated recap blog from first presentation
  2. Bjoern Peters-Become a Speaker at a PASS Event or other Meetups – share your knowledge: @sql_aus_hh
    Writes about elements that make for a good presentation
  3. Chris Lumnah: @lumnah
    Reflects on lessons learned after first presentation
  4. Chris Sommer: @cjsommer
    Shares things to think about when writing a new presentation
  5. Kenneth Fisher-Zip to Speaker: @sqlstudent144
    Recaps prior blogs about speaking & offers encouragement
  6. Kevin Hill-Speaking & Presenting: @kevin3nf
    Explores DBA Basics for Non-DBAs as a “first” presentation idea
  7. Matt Gordon: @sqlatspeed
    Shares two key lessons learned
  8. Mike Kane: @tcp1433
    Explores target audience, topic, and format
  9. Monica Rathbun-Helping New Speakers: @sqlespresso
    Writes how to get started
  10. Wylie Blanchard-Use Video as a Tool to Enhance Speaking Skill and Create Content: @wylieblanchard1
    Discusses value & benefits of videotaping one’s self

EXPERIENCED SPEAKERS

  1. Alexander Arvidsson: @arcticdba
    Writes about body language
  2. Andy Yun-Building Your Slidedeck: @sqlbek
    Shares slidedeck building tips
  3. Brent Ozar-The Three Parts of Every Presentation: @brento
    Explores types of presentations
  4. Derek Hammer-Building an Hour of Content: @sqlhammer
    Shares advice in building your first hour long presentation
  5. Doug Lane-Conquer Your Fear of Presenting with a Gift-Giver’s Mentality: @thedouglane
    Presents a video blog about the Gift Giver’s Mentality
  6. Erin Stellato: @erinstellato
    Recaps 4 prior blogs about speaking & addresses topic of comfort
  7. Jes Borland-Dealing with Failure: @grrl_geek
    Discusses how to handle failure on the fly.
  8. John Deardurff-Speaking about SQL: @john_deardurff
    Shares tips about learning itself
  9. Kathi Kellenberger-New Speakers: @auntkathi
    Writes about how to field questions
  10. Lori Edwards-So You Want to Present: @loriedwards
    Builds on prior blog post about speaking, sharing advice learned since
  11. Michael Swart-I’m Trying To Kick My “Undo Button” Habit: @mjswart
    Writes about speaking at PASS Summit for the first time
  12. Mike Fal-Getting Ready for your Presentation: @mike_fal
    Shares how to prepare the day of your presentation.
  13. Mike Lawell-Speak in Public? What? Me?: @sqldiver
    Shares journey about starting speaking.
  14. Riley Major-No One Wants to Eat You: @rileymajor
    Shares his personal story of speaking, followed by a huge list of tips, tricks, and resources
  15. Rob Farley-How I Prepare for a Presentation: @rob_farley
    Writes about deeply exploring your topic
  16. Rob Sewell-Speaking? You? Go on.: @sqldbawithbeard
    Shares advice about getting into speaking
  17. Steff Locke-A note to (potential) new speakers: It’s ok not to be perfect!: @stefflocke
    Reinforces that perfection is not necessary.
  18. Steve Jones: @way0utwest
    Encourages readers to speak.

WHAT COMES NEXT?

As I pledged in the first blog post, I will now be reaching out to all New Speakers, to offer personalized feedback.  A number of Experienced Speakers also volunteered to help, so I will be working out those logistics.  Additionally, if any of the Novice Speakers would like the same kind of help, please contact me – I will add you to the list too!

There are numerous opportunities to present: internally to coworkers, Toastmasters, User Groups, SQL Saturdays, & Virtual Chapters.  And all of them are always looking for new speakers!  When will you speak next?

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T-SQL Tuesday #84: Building Your Slidedeck

TSQL2sDay150x150

Welcome to another edition of T-SQL Tuesday. I am this month’s host, and the topic is Growing New Speakers. My contribution to this month’s T-SQL Tuesday was inspired via a tweet by Jonathan Cox (b|t).

the-questionWhen I gave my very first presentation, I had next to no experience with PowerPoint. In fact, I found it a bit intimidating. Where to start? How should I make it look? Do I have to pick a color scheme?

Not to worry! When you first open PowerPoint, there are numerous basic templates already loaded! My advice is to select a template that is simple. Don’t select one that has a background with very cluttered graphics. Visual noise is distracting and is the last thing you want to worry about.

avoid-examples

For your first presentation slidedeck, there’s no need to get fancy. Keep things simple like the templates below.

clean-examples

Readability is very important. What may look fantastic on your 1920×1200 laptop screen that’s 2 feet from you, will look drastically different when it’s been downsized by a projector to 1024×768 and is projected to an entire room.

Font size is the first key factor in Readability. Karen Lopez (b|t) tweeted an excellent tip, that I used when I was working on my PASS Summit slidedeck.

readableI readjusted a handful of my slides to pass this test (thanks Karen!).

Color contrast is important. Different rooms have different lighting conditions, so be sure to use a simple, high-contrast color combination so everyone in your room can read your slides. A lightly colored or white background with dark or black text works best. Stick with the basics – they work.

When it comes to amount of content, don’t write huge walls of text on slides. Put only your main talking points. Your speaking will fill in the corresponding details.  And if you do have a lot of slide content, don’t hesitate to split it into two slides.

Images and clip art. Some like art, I generally shy away from it – it’s all personal preference. If you do use an image from somewhere, you must give credit. Generally a footnote is acceptable. I prefer to rely on Creative Commons 0 images. Makes life hassle free. Check out Kendra Little’s (b|t) blog post all about Easy Free-Use Images.

I hope this collection of tips helps you on your way to building your first slidedeck!  And if you still find yourself a little stumped, Google/Bing is your friend!  There are many out there, who have written numerous articles & blogs on how to build effective slidedecks.  Leverage their collective knowledge.

Happy Powerpointing!

PASS Summit & Game Night

A few years ago, Mike Donnelly (b|t) & Andre Ranieri (t) hosted a Game Night at PASS Summit. At the time, I thought this was a great idea. It was small yet very successful.

This year, PASS Summit 2016, PASS decided to forego the usual Thursday night Community Appreciation Event. This opened up Thursday night for a wide variety of options. Steve Jones (b|t) and Andy Warren (b|t) stepped up to the plate to help attendees, and they set up a Game Night at the Convention Center. Check out Steve’s recap blog post to hear how it went!

I’m blogging about this because I think this is a fantastic alternate event that has great potential and appeal to PASS Summit attendees. I’ve met many in our industry, who are less comfortable in crowded social situations among strangers. But give people a smaller scale, quieter space, with a simple & fun “common ground,” and you give those people a fantastic opportunity to network in ways that they never would have before.

I happen to have many non-SQL friends who fall into this category. And I want to share two brief stories about offering games as an alternative.

When I got married, our venue was split into two distinct rooms: a dining room and a bar/dance floor room. We liked this because it allowed those who wanted to dance it up to hang in one area while others could mingle & chill out in the dining room. After dinner, a few of those friends came up to my wife & I and asked if we minded if they broke out a table top game. We said “yes, absolutely!” We wanted them to have a great time that night and by letting them do an activity that fit them, we were able to enable that! I still think back to that with fond memories.

Earlier this year, two of our gamer friends got married. For their wedding, they had set aside a dedicated gaming room, where folks could have a quieter place to convene and still enjoy themselves. And it was absolutely a hit! Those of our friends, for whom dancing and drinking aren’t their thing, enjoyed themselves. The groom happened to spend a good portion of the night there too, doing what he loved, with his wedding guests! It was great!

I share these two stories, to try and help drive home the point that offering alternative events like Game Night, can really work at any kind of event. And I’m thrilled to see that it again worked at PASS Summit. I would love to see this expanded and continued by PASS. Let’s try to offer something to those of our PASS Summit colleagues who don’t care for hard partying. This can be it!

Post-PASS Summit 2016: Presenting Every Byte Counts

Four years ago, I attended my first PASS Summit in Charlotte, NC. Never did I dream that I would get the guts to begin presenting. And if presenting was not even on my radar, someday receiving the honor of presenting at the PASS Summit was completely unfathomable to me.

Yet a week ago, that’s exactly what I did!

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I was fortunate to be assigned to the very first session slot on Wednesday, the first full day of PASS Summit. I was effectively part of the lead-off team, immediately after the opening Keynote. The night before, I was not feeling all that nervous or anxious. My priorities were just to get a good night’s rest, and to make sure I was set up and good to go (I’m always paranoid about A/V issues). Leaving Denny Cherry’s party early bummed me out, as it was rocking, but this wasn’t about me – it was about the PASS Summit attendees!

I took a pass on the morning Keynote and got into my room early. It allowed me to get set up and into the mental zone. I was pumped and ready to have fun. I was not keeping track of time, but early birds started to straggle in, including a few people I knew. Chatting with them helped to pass the time until the Keynote wrapped up and attendees really started to stream in!

I was pleasantly surprised to see a number of friends show up as well. I honestly had no idea who would come see me. While I was in one of the smaller rooms, I still managed to pack them! I chatted up the crowd for a few minutes. I did ask who was a First Timer and was stunned when over half the room raised their hands! I thanked them for joining me and letting me help kick off their first PASS Summit experience!

img_20161026_123004

To be perfectly honest, I really don’t remember much about my presentation itself. I was jazzed, excited, and dropped immediately into my zone and rolled with it. I had spent a great deal of time preparing and rehearsing for the past month, to make sure my presentation was polished, and I believe that hard work paid off.

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Afterwards, I had a bunch of people coming up to ask questions. As a speaker, that is very rewarding, as it shows that people were engaged and want to know more. Knowing I did not have another speaker after me (lunchtime), I took my time chatting with everyone who had lingered. It was a good way for me to start coming down from the high.

I received numerous complements over the subsequent days, from both friends and attendees. One random attendee went so far as to compare me against some very well-known, experienced speakers. That particular complement will really stick with me I think.

I really hope that this is not my last time presenting at PASS Summit. As others have taught me, one must never rest their laurels. I’m already thinking about next year’s submissions and what new sessions I want to develop.

Hope you all had a fantastic PASS Summit. I sure did!

T-SQL Tuesday #84: Growing New Speakers

TSQL2sDay150x150Welcome to another edition of T-SQL Tuesday! This is the monthly blog party started by Adam Machanic (b|t). I have the honor and pleasure of returning again as this month’s host.

This month’s topic is going to be about Speaking & Presenting with a focus on Helping New Speakers! 4 short years ago, I attended my very first PASS Summit and never did I think I’d ever dare to become a Speaker and present. But a year later, I got coerced into a lightning talk. Since then, I’ve presented at several dozen User Groups & SQL Saturdays. Tomorrow, I have the honor of presenting at PASS Summit 2016! And what an adventure it’s been!

For T-SQL Tuesday, I am giving differing topics if you are currently a Speaker or have never have spoken. And if you’ve never spoken, this T-SQL Tuesday comes with a challenge and a twist.

IF YOU ARE A PRESENTER: HELP NEW SPEAKERS

If you’re a Speaker, that’s great! Your T-SQL Tuesday topic will be to write about something to Help New Speakers. Write something about Speaking to aid new Speakers.

To give you all some ideas:
• Share insight about developing a presentation
• Share some advice about Speaking
• Write about your first Speaking experience
• Share beginner tips & lessons learned

IF YOU HAVE NEVER PRESENTED: WILL YOU TAKE UP THE CHALLENGE?

If you’re not a Speaker, then this month’s T-SQL Tuesday is a challenge to start that journey. Start thinking about your first presentation. Think about technical topics that either you’re very comfortable with, really love, or are eager to explore, and pick one.  Presentations aren’t always about sharing knowledge from an expert perspective. Many effective presentations are told from the point of a learning journey!  Keep in mind that your first presentation doesn’t have to be an hour long public presentation.  A 10-15 minute presentation to your coworkers is also a great way to start off!

For your T-SQL Tuesday blog post, take that topic and write about it. It can be the basis for your future presentation. Write up an outline about something you learned about recently. Or explore a problem you recently resolved at your workplace and write a starter post about it. Perhaps try your hand at writing your first demo script and blog that.

Remember, this blog post doesn’t have to encompass your entire prospective presentation. Think of it as a first draft, an exploration your idea. No need to be fancy, in-depth, or comprehensive.

If you are having difficulty deciding on a first presentation topic, no problem! Why not write about the topic(s) you are considering? Explore each one at a high level, and why they interest you.

Still on the fence about Speaking? Feel free to write a non-technical blog post about that too! You could explore and share your thoughts about presenting and even explore any concerns you may find yourself having.

This T-SQL Tuesday is all about helping you to start your journey to giving your first presentation.

THE TWIST: I WANT TO HELP

Here’s this month’s T-SQL Tuesday twist. If you’ve never presented before and take me up on this challenge, I or another experienced speaker volunteer, will take the time to privately provide feedback to each and every one of you.

• If you want help developing your first presentation out, I will help you.
• If you are wary of putting your first PowerPoint together, I will help you.
• If you need ideas on how to write demo scripts, I will help you.

I will do whatever I can to help you begin this journey. Feel free to reach out to me prior to T-SQL Tuesday, if you want feedback on where to start. Otherwise, I will reach out after your blog post goes live, to keep the fire alive and help you take the next steps!

ARE YOU UP FOR THE CHALLENGE?

  1. Want to Participate?
  2. Write a blog post about the topic. Don’t have a blog? Start one!
  3. Include the T-SQL Tuesday Logo and link it back to this post.TSQL2sDay150x150
  4. Publish your blog post Tuesday, November 8th, between 00:00 GMT & 23:59 GMT.
  5. Leave a reply below with a link to your blog post (for the round-up).
  6. Share you post with the community! Tweet it out using the #tsql2sday hashtag!
  7. If you want personalized feedback, e-mail me at SQLBek at gmail-dot-com.

EVERYONE

Please help promote this on Twitter, using #sqlnewspeakers hashtag, in addition to the #tsql2sday hashtag!

P.S. Existing Speakers – if any of you also want to get in on the Feedback party, you’re more than welcome to join me!

October of Awesome!

I can’t believe that we’re halfway through October! This month has simply flown by. But the best is yet to come!!!

This Tuesday, I will finally be presenting at my own Chicago Suburban SQL Server User Group! I will be debuting my new and improved Why Your Datatype Choices Matter presentation.

Then a week from today, I am honored to be back at SQL Saturday Oregon. There, I will be presenting this year’s flagship presentation: Performance Pitfalls of Code Reuse. I’ve had a lot of fun presenting this session over the course of this year, and it’s been a fantastic way to also showcase my sp_helpExpandView tool.

Finally, a week and a half from now, I will be making my debut at PASS Summit 2016, presenting Why Your Datatype Choices Matter! This improved session is a 200 level session, with some splashes of 400 level content thrown in! There’s something for everyone! I’m blessed to be in the very first speaking slot, Wednesday morning at 10:15AM in Room 2AB! Come see me after the introductory keynote!

I’m really looking forward to seeing friends, new and old, at PASS Summit. And if we’ve never met, do come find me and say hello!

PASS Board of Directors Elections

It’s that time of year again. While we may all be glued to the POTUS elections, there’s another election that impacts all of us members of PASS – the annual Board of Directors election.

I am generally not one to take sides publicaly. But I did write a Statement of Support for Wendy Pastrick, and decided to publish it here.

I am writing today, to provide a Referral Statement of Support, for Wendy Pastrick.

I have known Wendy for a number of years now. I’ve worked with her to organize several SQL Saturday Chicago events now. While she has operated as our committee’s leader, she has also formed a strong, dedicated team of individuals that have made this a very successful event.

Additionally, she also gave me the opportunity to take over and reboot the Chicago Suburban SQL Server User Group. She provided guidance and mentoring in helping me start a new User Group.

Wendy Pastrick’s actions and support truly embody what I believe PASS is all about. She continues to give selflessly, to help our community grow, strengthen, and flourish.

In the end, we’re all faced with a choice – to participate and vote in the PASS BoD election, or exercise apathy and not. I choose to participate, and I hope you do too.

Please vote!