Brent Ozar recently posted a great blog post for people who are setting goals to speak in 2011. His post motivated me to do one for people who are interested in speaking but don’t because they think you must be an expert. I have a secret for you, I use to be one of those people. If you learn anything from me please check out the next sentence. You don’t have to be an expert to speak in the SQL Server community.
I have proof that you don’t have to be an expert to speak. I did a lightning talk at the world’s largest and best conference for SQL Server professionals and while I strive to be an expert I have a long way to go!
In my opinion speaking is just like playing any sport. You cannot get better if you don’t get out there and practice, practice, practice. If you don’t practice speaking how can you become an expert speaker? The SQL Server Community is awesome and they have your back. There are several avenues for people to start speaking. Experts are also willing to give you pointers along your way to help you get better.
What should I talk about?
This one is easy, talk about what you know. A list of tips or best practices you have discovered through your quest of SQL Server greatness would be a great start. Recently, I have spent quite a bit of time figuring out how I could monitor and apply best practices to my SQL Server farm. I compiled my notes and a presentation was born.
A well known speaker already submitted my topic
Submit your topic anyway. Speakers usually submit multiple topics expecting to only do a couple presentations. If you submit your abstract it might get accepted so the other speaker can do another presentation. Andy Warren (blog | @sqlandy) just wrote a blog post about missing an opportunity to speak. Andy thinks that too many speakers is a good thing.
Where should I speak?
There are several options for you to speak do your thing:
- Practice, Practice, Practice
- Record yourself and evaluate. I did this a few times for my lightning talk. You can watch my practice run online for an example.
- Practice your presentation in-front of family and friends or animals.
- Speak in front of peers at work.
- Virtual Presentations
- User Groups
- SQL Saturday – There are tons of these.
- SQL Conferences
- SQL Rally – Submit your topics now. The call for speakers closes December 15th.
- SQL PASS Member Summit
- SQL Connections
If you have never submitted a session to a User Group, SQL Saturday, Virtual chapter do it. Trust me, if I can give a presentation anyone can.