It has been just on week since PASS Data Community Summit took place in Seattle and online. I attended from home but more importantly delivered my own brand-new session there (wooohooo!). Here I would like to quickly share some reflections on it.
It was an awesome experience being able to present at Summit. I visited the event in Seattle in 2019 in person. To be honest with you dear reader….being the first time in the US didn’t blow my mind…it was quite ok…however the Summit did for sure. Being able to network with SQL Server professionals from all over the world, to meet your own community heroes and to get relevant and up to date content for learning is awesome. 2022 now was my second summit and I made it even to a speaker which I am particularly proud about
My rollercoaster journey in speaking
I started speaking in 2019 at New Stars of Data and did deliver some sessions in 2020 as well. My “speaking portfolio” is not that diverse yet…I started out with a presentation on Workloadtests which I held both virtually and in person at some conferences and also delivered a quite successful lightning talk on database documentation at Data Weekender.
However 2022 hit me hard at first…I published in like 10 call for speakers and my sessions were declined over and over. So I started thinking that maybe my voice as a speaker is not that searched for or the topics I speak about are too old fashioned as I don’t cover any cloud-related stuff. A big thank you goes to my two friends Uwe Ricken and Deepthi Goguri who encouraged me to keep on going.
Suddenly two speaking gigs were possible: one at Pass Data Community Summit and another one at DPS Summit. Unfortunately they had two different sessions chosen, which both were not prepared yet. After speaking to my family I decided with a heavy heart to cancel the session at DPS. Reason was that in parallel to a challenging customer project at work and my ongoing personal project of renovating our house to make it more energy efficient it was simply too much.
So I focused on the presentation at PASS Data Community Summit and brought this (quite in time) across the finish line 😃.
Preparing for the session
My session is about monitoring, baselining and workloadtests. It is connected to an incident I had at work, where I did a lot of firefighting with colleagues but we couldn’t determine the root cause in the end. Before the session I was quite often asking myself: So you are just starting out yourself in baselining? Is this OK to stand there and tell attendants, that you don’t know everything about it?
It was a key moment as I spoke to my mentor about it and he told me:
If you are on a journey around the world, you don’t need to wait to begin talking about it until you are back at home eventually. People are still interested in what you have already discovered, what challenges you met and what tactics you applied.
These are true words of whisdom. I still kept a bit unsure about the session but after a test run with my great friend Uwe Ricken these doubts flew away.
I held the session at 8:30 pm local time (11:30 PST). Typically this is not the time with my highest performance…I am more a morning guy than a late-night-evening one. However the adrenaline from the slight nervousness did its work and kept me going. It was true joy presenting. The start was a bit challenging as I had no concrete idea, when all of the 70 virtual attendees (and also the ones in room Chelan 4 in Seattle) would see me on screen. I was told that there would be a 30 second delay so I started with some general “Good morning, good afternoon, good night…wherever you are…welcome to my presentation” babbling. I am super proud that I managed to stay calm and speak not too fast. Ocassionally I noticed that I tend to get ahead of myself if I am excited and speak English too fast. It isn’t my first language after all and if you think faster than you can possibly translate words than it ends with a lot of ehm filling words. However this was not the case in this situation…this gave me self assurance and kept me going.
It has been a great experience….I finisihed quite on time and as there were no questions used the Q&A time to show some more bonus demos.
Here are some images I took from the recording. The background ist my home town Neudenau (Herbolzheim) in Germany. I took the picture from Facebook. Credits go to Antonio Rodrigues.
- Never give up If you look at others and might envy them for their speaking gigs you only see the tip of the iceberg. You might never know about some sessions of them being declined as well.
- Your view counts Don’t think “I have to be an expert on this before I can talk about it”. The way you describe things even if you are still learning what you are presenting might be as valuable to others.
- Have a test-run with your peers or mentor Practice your presentation in front of an audience before delivering it at the conference. This provides you with valuable feedback and empowers you with self-confidence.