The Road to my First SQL Saturday Presentation – Phoenix March 17 20184 min read

12 Days to GO

Since learning I was selected to speak at SQL Saturday Phoenix; I have been preparing all my material, practicing my presentation, getting feedback from the SQL community. This has been a overwhelming, but I am looking past all of the anxiety and focusing on the excitement for the opportunity. A couple people I have been talking to have been so encouraging and optimistic. So with less than a couple weeks to go, it is practice, practice practice.

Below is my timeline for preparing for the event.

Presentation

Since this is my first presentation to the public I did not have anything developed when I submitted. To be honest when I submitted I was sure I would be rejected.  See my blog about getting the news I was selected.

So the first thing on my agenda was getting a solid foundation for my presentation with graphical elements that would fit my theme.  Along the way I was given advice by multiple people on the style and layout of my presentation.  Andy Yun (b | t) and Tracy Boggiano (b | t) and of course a few of the dbatools team gave me suggestions and guidance on my presentation.  I committed to myself to have that done and leave myself four weeks for the remaining tasks.

Demos

The next thing on my to do list was to build my demo code for the presentation.  I feel this was a good flow, since I have my presentation done and reviewed, now I could build the demos to match the outline of the presentation.  While building the demo I realized I would need to build a script to put my test environment back the way it was pre-walkthrough.  Again I gave myself a week to complete this as well as continue to tweak on the presentation.

Practice

Now it is go time.  I gave myself three whole weeks to practice.  My daily schedule consists of getting to the office by 6:00am.  This is when I do all my daily checks for work and then continue any learning or scripting I had started in previous days.  For this three week period I booked a conference in my office for 7:00am to 8:00am every single day of the week.  This way I have a solid 13 days of working the room with a projector and the feel of a training room.  Day 1 was met with a couple obstacles I had not planned for.  The laptop I am using for my presentation and demos has only one USB port.  Well in my preparation I had planned for a wireless mouse, wireless presentation clicker, and a USB multi-port video converter.  That is three USB ports needed and only one available.  So I hoped on Amazon and quickly found a 4-port USB hub to arrive by Wednesday.

Each day I continued to practice my presentation and how my flow would go throughout the hour.  I timed my talk to try and get a feel for if I was filling the appropriate hour well or if I need to stretch any of the content.  My first test run was 45 minutes, so I felt that was a good mark to try and aim for.  This I feel would allow for questions and any other discussion that came up during the presentation.

I know have my USB hub and all my pieces in place.  So I am getting familiar with the presentation clicker and love the laser pointer for highlighting things on the screen.  My flow is getting better, I am having less UHM’s and UH’s.

Gadgets

Not necessarily a gadget, but my demo tech was in question.  I threw it out to my presentation mentors about how I should construct my demos.  In this day and age of Azure VM’s, Docker Containers, VM Labs, local SQL instances, and other how should I proceed with building my demo’s.  I picked the easiest in my opinion to manage and repeat without getting overly complicated.  I installed two SQL 2016 instances and two SQL 2017 instances on the laptop I planned to do my presentation from.

I am a gadget guy by nature.  Reading twitter and blogs I see how serious some presenters get when it comes to their gadgets and presenting styles.  I reached out again to Andy and Tracy, with a special email to Brent Ozar.  While Andy and Tracy were on the same page with the Logitech R400 and Brent suggested the Logitech Spotlight which was a bit pricey and maybe out of my league as a potential one and done presenter.

So now I had my “clicker” choice out of the way.  Then I asked, should I get a video converter.  I see people that post all the time about their issues with connecting to the venues projection systems.  So I order a video converter that had several of the popular video connections.

Conclusion

Now is just the practice, practice, practice and repeat routine as the days countdown to go time.  Hopefully this will be a fulfilling and rewarding experience I know it can be.  I plan to take full advantage of this wonderful opportunity I have been given.  However, I cannot help but feel nervous and anxious until it is all over said and done and I can enjoy SQL Saturday Phoenix and all of its offerings.

One Reply to “The Road to my First SQL Saturday Presentation – Phoenix March 17 20184 min read

  1. Great job putting so much effort into preparation! Speaking is exciting and the more practice and prepared you are the better your event will go. Have fun and good luck!

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