TSQL Tuesday # 96: Community people who have influenced my way

TSQL Tuesday # 96: Community people who have influenced my way

T-SQL Tuesday is a recurring blog series started by Adam Machanic (b | t), a blogger hosts a SQL Server topic every month, and anyone can write a blog post on this particular topic. This month, Ewald Cress (b | t) is our host and it’s about the people who have influenced us in our lives with data in the community.

For a long time, I had no relation to any community… in my youth, I was a volunteer at the German Red Cross and now on the road again with “you”.

Who influenced me in the last few years?

Actually, everything started with PASSCAMP 2013… Ok, maybe a bit earlier when I signed up for Twitter in mid-2012 and read a lot about a #sqlfamily.

Definitely worth mentioning Brent Ozar, who has inspired me with his knowledge and blog contributions for years and continues to bring in the daily DBA life. Also, his contributions to the topic “Why should I run a blog?” count among my reasons mentioned again and again. Unfortunately, I have not been able to meet him personally yet, but that’s guaranteed to happen. His funny way of explaining complicated things to one person is just great!

Then in 2013, it was my visit to the PASSCamp and thus my first direct contact with the German sqlfamily aka SQLPass. Here you can only list the usual suspects, who are always present at such events. => Oliver Engels, Tillmann Eitelberg, Kostja Klein, Niko Neugebauer and Andreas Wolter, just to name a few… I found the group dynamics awesome and all that love between them… everyone knows each other, everyone laughs at each and everyone talks to everyone, no one is left behind!

I wanted to join in, somehow belong to them… but how?

Henning L. @hlhr_dev Jun 2 thanks to all the speakers and specially to @sql_williamd for this great event #SQLGrillen

So after this experience, I started to get more involved with the PASS and its activities and found among others like Cathrine Wilhelmsen, whose community activities also spurred me and showed me how to start => more participation in local or national activities of the PASS. Then it came to SQLGrillen from William Durkin and the session of Andre Kamann about “PoSh meets Ola Hallengren” and another meeting with Andre Essing, which in total motivated me to jump over my own shadow and act as a spokesman in the PASS. During the following two SQLSaturdays (Rhineland and Munich 2016) I was on the road for my first time as a volunteer and was able to get a taste of the national activities of PASS Germany. As luck would have kicked in or the data network rolled the balls, the SQLSaturday in Munich was the next step in my “community career” and brought me the Azure Meetup Hamburg.

In 2017, I had my first public talks, some in-house, some in the PASS user group Hamburg, at SQLGrillen 2017 (Thanks to William) and twice at SQLSaturday Rheinland 2017 (thanks to Olli, Tillmann and Kostja)… all this in conjunction with my blog and Twitter activities helped me to be awarded by Microsoft with the MVP Award.

I would like to say thank you to following people of the German #sqlfamily:

Oliver Engels
Tillmann Eitelberg
Kostja Klein
Andre Essing
William Durkin
Andre Kamann

A special thanks go to Gabi Münster for the support during my first public appearance, in the end, it’s all about a “kick my ass” to jump over my shadow. Of course, many conversations and Twitter contacts with numerous other community members (Chrissy, Claudio, Rob, Dirk, Volker and, above all, Conny!) helped me to feel as a member (at least of the German) SQL family! THANK YOU SO MUCH! Further goals are planned for 2018 😉

A very special thanks go to my team lead Thorsten Moeller, who supports me again and again in all my activities and a much bigger “Thank you” goes to my wife, who also supports these activities and always “kept my back”!

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