My second SQL Saturday presentation is officially complete. This past weekend was SQL Saturday #734 in my hometown of Dallas, Tx. To say I was nervous to present locally is an understatement. I tell myself the reason I picked Phoenix as my first attempt at public speaking is because if things did not go to plan no one knows me and it would probably be like it never happened. However, presenting for my hometown was much more fulfilling that I thought it would be.
First of all the Dallas event was much larger than Phoenix as it relates to attendees. I have not seen any official numbers, but I think I saw a tweet Friday evening that said 975 people were registered. Wow, that is a lot of people for one local SQL event. That is an impressive number that should make all the planners and volunteers very satisfied that they publicized and executed a great event.
My first experience in speaking was a little underwhelming personally for a few reasons. I told myself I was going to go in to Dallas as if it was my first event with an open mind. I was blown away by the differences. The number of speakers, organizing staff, volunteers, sponsors and everyone else involved was tremendous.
Friday’s night speaker dinner was awesome. I was able to meet a few people I had only known from Twitter or blogs, so that was great. My wife and I were able to sit with Peter Schott ( b | t ) at dinner. This was going to be his first SQL Saturday speaking engagement. He was speaking on Database Schema and SSDT. I also met some of the organizers and the keynote speaker. Very nice time to hear stories and meet new people. And show off my world to my wife!!
Now it was time for Saturday and to get to work. Woke up and grabbed some breakfast at our hotel. Then headed over to the event at University of Texas Dallas. I have lived in Dallas / Fort Worth, Tx my whole life and have never been in this area. The campus was really nice. There was a lot of construction going on, but 90% of Texas is always under construction it seems. I checked in at the entry and proceeded inside to gather my stuff and find the location of the keynote presentation. I ran across a couple people I knew and we looked for the room together. Once we found it I proceeded to my usual location in the back of the room. SQL Super Master Bob Ward ( b | t ) was scheduled to talk about SQL 2017 at 8:00am and right on time he started the festivities off with awesome information.
This time I had the 11:00am session. So I sat in the first session of the day to watch a gentleman speak about running your own consulting operation. There were a few cool tidbits that he showed off and could be implemented easily. During the second hour of sessions I found a nice quiet place, unfortunately I could not find a nice COOL and quiet place. I am not sure if it was me, but I could not get cool the entire day. I then proceeded to study my notes and walk through my presentation and demo so I would be prepared when 11:00am rolled around.
10:45am hit and the attendees from the previous session in my room started filling out. So I jumped in their to try and get all my stuff hooked so I would have a few minutes to breath and get going. I did start off fast, but after a couple minutes I corrected my pace and things flowed well. I had a good group of attendees that had a lot of questions and I felt real interest in taking the information back and using what they learned. I was able to show my demos and had some good feedback on the power of dbatools. I really enjoyed this talk and even though I was out of breath at the end and felt exhausted I think things went real well.
There was a couple of attendees that stayed after class to discuss dbatools and ask questions. Since it was lunch time and the next class was not for an hour I did not have to rush out of the room to make way for the next speaker. It was calming to know I was not in anyone’s way while having conversations with some attendees.
This time around there were printed Session Evaluation forms for my presentation. I was so disappointed the last time I spoke as I really wanted feedback to help me do a better job for the next appearance. So I gathered up the evaluations and decided to wait and read them over with my wife later in the evening at dinner.
The feedback was pretty strong for 10 of the 11 evaluations I received. The one below really stood out as I thought I might have an issue with my screen size. For my preparation for Phoenix I practiced using ZoomIt in case the resolution called for it. It ended up that the room size and resolution size was perfect in Phoenix and I did not have to use ZoomIt. When I first hooked up my laptop in Dallas, I loaded my presentation and went about 2/3 of the way to the back of the room to see if this screen in a much larger room would force me to use ZoomIt. I made a judgement call that everything could be seen and I would not need to use ZoomIt. Well according to this attendee I really should have errored on the cautious side and used ZoomIt.
I am very grateful for all the written and verbal feedback that the attendees had for me. It makes it helpful to know how to do better for the next time and it makes you feel good knowing that someone appreciated your topic.
Now back to the real world until the end of June when I do it all again for the SQL Saturday Houston crowd. Until the next recap, thanks.