Become a Speaker at a PASS Event or other Meetups – share your knowledge

This month Andy Yun is our TSQL2sDay #84 host and the subject is “Growing new speakers”. He wants us to talk about presenting and speaking at any SQL Server, PASS Event or any other Meetup and how to prepare, submit and speak at these events. Sharing Knowledge with others and getting in touch with other speakers and the community aka SQLFamily.
T-SQL Tuesday is a recurring blog party, that is started by Adam Machanic (b|t). Each month a blog will host the party, and everyone that want’s to can write a blog about a specific subject.

Overcome yourself and submit a session extract to your preferred event

My own story although I’ve just spoken once for at a public event (our regional PASS group), at my company I’ve spoken more often… and planning to speak much more often in 2017 😉
But I can still remember my first time… It was hard for me to choose the right topic, then write/create a cool designed but not too colorful technical presentation and extract an interesting extract of it…

The most effort was to do the decision itself to do a presentation in front of an “unknown” group of people (to become a speaker) but I have not regretted it so far. In 2015 I’ve made a general decision to my upcoming career I want to join more of our PASS meetings, to join more PASS events and to become a part of the German SQLFamily.

SQL PASS - Die Community rund den SQL Server - Logo

So I joined my first SQLSaturday in Sankt Augustin this year and enjoyed so much that I decided to (try to) visit all other PASS events in Germany this year (and the next years 😉 ). So I went to SQLGrillen – an event of the regional user group of PASS Emsland in Lingen – where I also visited several German speakers and had some barbecue and beer with them.
After convincing my employer I also visited the new SQLSaturday #555 in Munich as a volunteer and got in touch with even more guys of the European PASS Family. All these great experiences had made such a fun and convinced me that it is not at all bad to be a speaker at such an event.
So I want to become a speaker next year too!

Find the right topic and prepare your presentation

But what to speak about, what might be interesting enough for the audience to hear, what are actual topics in the community?
These are the hardest question before to start with your speaker career but do not make it too hard for you. As Brent Ozar had written in one of his blog posts… it doesn’t matter if any other spoke about your preferred topic before it is more important that you speak about this topic. You might tell it in a different way to another or a Level 100 audience so it might be easier for you to get your speaker experience or to keep your self-confidence.

Become a Speaker like Brent Ozar at SQLSaturday in Portugal

After you found your topic I prefer to prepare your presentation as a draft then show it to your wife or your friends for a first review. After your first review and edit phase present your session in front of known colleagues and listen carefully to their questions and remarks. That will help you very much to point out the most important missing information within your presentation.

my summary of a good presentation

  • use Powerpoint (or a similar software)
  • build your own “corporate design” and make sure you’ll use this design on all slides
  • use fewer colors, use an only font (in different sizes)
  • do not too much graphics
  • don’t go too deep into written details (just a header and some words, not a complete description)
  • don’t use too much animations/transitions

Submit your topic and abstract to your first “Call for Speaker”-Event

So now you’re prepared for your first event… Have a look for upcoming events in your regions like PASS Events or Meetup groups and submit your topic and abstract to the organizer or via a website. For such bigger events, there is mostly a “Call for speaker” and a closing date until when you have to submit your session.

After you have submitted your session there is only one thing to do … wait 😉  after the closing date will announce and contact all speaker for this upcoming event.

You will see presenting at a SQL Server Community event is a great experience and a lot of fun.
The first time will surely be very exciting but you’ll see that no one “bites” and all are very pleased that you’re sharing your knowledge.

You’ll grow with each session as a speaker and get known to the SQLFamily. On every event, you’ll be able to talk to other speakers and share your experiences with them and they’ll share their experiences with you. I think sharing knowledge and presenting on every event – doesn’t matter which topic or event or size – will teach you more.

 

“Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.”
― Dalai Lama XIV

Björn works as a database administrator and Head of Competence for MS SQL and mySQL in Hamburg (Germany). He regularly participates in the PASS regional group meetings, events of the PASS such as SQLSaturday and SQLGrillen and he organizes the Azure Meetup group in Hamburg. He is interested in topics like SQL Server, Powershell and Azure for science fiction, snowboarding, baking and cycling.