Growing New Speakers T-SQL Tuesday #84

by Angela Tidwell

Growing New Speakers T-SQL Tuesday #84

by Angela Tidwell

by Angela Tidwell

What is the best way to start a new career?  Simple, jump in with both feet and start running as soon as you hit the pavement!  Well, that is how I have kicked off my new DBA career!  I was fortunate enough to attend Microsoft PASS Summit in Seattle, Washington in October, 2016.  I met a lot of fantastic #SQLFamily members who had a wealth of information to share.  The advice I received most was to network, blog, and GIVE PRESENTATIONS.


Give a presentation?  ME?  What can I talk about?  What do I have to offer?  Well, I am not sure; however, perhaps through a series of blog posts and continued education, I can find my way.  My awesome boss, John Sterrett (b/t) (not contractually obligated to make that statement) has a blog post on his thoughts when he first started speaking that I have found helps me allay those fears.  I have to remember that I don’t have to be an expert to speak!

So here I am, taking the first step through the T- SQL Tuesday #84 Blog Challenge.  This month is all about growing new speakers.


Ten things I learned while watching PASS Summit speakers that I plan to implement during my first presentation are:

  1. FONTS FONTS FONTS! Make sure your presentation materials CAN BE SEEN! Small fonts are a killer.
  2. Engage with your audience. Welcome them into your world, they are here to know you!
  3. Be interested and excited about what you are saying. Nothing loses the audience faster than a presenter who seems FORCED to be there or bored with the subject.
  4. Speak up and don’t read directly from a script.
  5. Practice, practice, practice until it becomes more of a conversation and less of a “speech”.
  6. Take note of the colors in your presentation and be mindful of those who are blue/green colorblind (I had never considered that!).
  7. Know your audience. When speaking to a diverse group your jokes, quips, and puns may fall short. (Not everyone gets the Three Stooges kind of humor like I do)
  8. BE PREPARED (Y’all, make sure your mouse and other presentation tools are charged.)
  9. Some people are rude; they will take phone calls during your session and not leave the room. (I so wanted to see the speaker go to that person and take over the phone call!)
  10. Be careful not to let your session be hijacked, no matter how excited your audience is about the subject matter, this is still YOUR session.  There are ways to quickly and politely get your audience back on track and plugged into your session.

I graduated college with a degree in Fine Arts.  Admittedly I have a leg up on the performance skills.  Am I still terrified to do my first session?  INDEED, I will be speaking my words, not the brilliance of Shakespeare!  I am afraid, since I am new, that I won’t be interesting and that I will have nothing to offer.

However, I must not be afraid, I must be brave! As Malvolio prosed in Shakespeare’s Twelfth-Night; or, What You Will, Act II, Scene V.:

“…be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”

Thanks for reading! -Angela


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