My take on presenting

This idea basically started from Andy Bek’s TSQL Tuesday last year #84 growing new speakers ( – thanks Andy) and I have decided to share my experiences about what was going on in my head for when I was prepping for my first presentation for my local user group.

I jotted some things down which delayed my objective of presenting, I then just threw caution to the wind and went for it. I want to share this because it might just encourage you to talk too!

My initial concerns

  1. I am not an expert This was a major reason to why I never bothered before. Who on earth would want to listen to me ramble on about a certain topic? I have no weight or merit, I am not a MCM (hahaha – 100 miles away from that standard) or an expert in my field .
  2. I am not well known. Quite similar to the above, if you see my name on a piece of paper at a presentation would you be tempted to listen to me? I wouldn’t want to listen to me..
  3. What happens if I get a question I know nothing about? This will reinforce point 1 and make me look terrible.
  4. What happens if someone tries to show me up? I have heard some stories about this happening, quite frankly I wouldn’t know how I would respond until I actually experience it.
  5. What happens if people find me boring? If this is the case I am not cut out for presenting!

My post presentation thoughts

Fast track a couple of days after the talk this is how I felt:

  1. Well I will never be an “expert” but I made sure that I pitched at a level I was comfortable with and made sure that the material was 100% correct. From that and the abstract where I told people it was an entry level session they shouldn’t expect anything advanced, so I thought that I do not have to be a true expert to do the beginner level work, however I was ready for advanced questions where I had my SQLskills notes in my bag with me!
  2. Post thoughts – This should not stop you, even the best on this planet were once not well known (I think)…
  3. I read my presentation and tried to find holes as to where potential questions would crop up and I scribbled them down. Honestly is key here. When I didn’t know the answer I just said I don’t know but will find out.
  4. Never happened and I hope it never happens.
  5. I am a boring person so I tried to make it interactive, I asked the audience questions during my presentation and even gave a “quick test” at the end with a prize. (16GB USB which nobody got!)…people did walk off which threw me off for 2-3 seconds but I just carried on and ignored it.

Basically what I am saying here is: if you have the same concerns as I did then all I can say that it is natural but you should have zero regrets and just dive right in… after the presentation I  received a couple of handshakes and some of the DBAs were really into my content  and I was encouraged to do more!

Thanks to Paul Andrews and Alex Yates for the positive feedback and a big thanks to Erin Stellato for helping me getting started from abstracts to general advice.

Thanks for reading and keep talking!


2 thoughts on “My take on presenting

  1. Pingback: My take on presenting - SQL Server Blog - SQL Server - Toad World

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