In 2010 I had traveled to my very first conference as a presenter. So there I was, stood on the stage in front of a motley collection of SQL professionals, realizing the enormity of what was about to happen.
For many years I had been one of the guys in the crowd of a sea of attendees who had come to listen to awesome presentations from awesome professionals. From time to time I would wonder what it must be like talking in front of all those people -and more importantly whether I could be capable of such a feat. Did I have anything to say? Yes absolutely, but these guys were (of course) in a different league from me, and a league in which I could never hope to emulate. Ever. Then a funny thing happened one day… I decided to submit a presentation to SQLBits 7 really out of curiosity more than anything.
Months later, oh joy of joys… I got selected!
Finally when the euphoria faded, the reality set in. OH MY GOD… I’VE BEEN SELECTED!!! WHAT AM I GOING TO DO!!! This presentation was going to be my first ever presentation to my first ever audience anywhere ever and I knew it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. There was also an extra element of excitement/ fear in that SQLBits always recorded their presentations, hosted them publicly for free on the internet, and (if that wasn’t enough) used picture in picture recordings of the presenter in sync with the slidedeck.
Yes people, even back then SQLBits was a very slick conference, and if you are going to fail at presenting, it is perhaps not the place to start :).
And let’s not forget the leap of faith that the SQLBits committee had shown by selecting me for this event. Whilst I was not entirely unknown from a social media perspective (I had been a active blogger and twitter user for several years by then) the fact remains that as a presenter I was (shall we say) a little inexperienced!
So moving back to stage where I was delivering my first ever session…
I remember looking at the audience quite early on around 5 minutes into the presentation and I clearly remember thinking I AM ACTUALLY DOING THIS!!! After composing myself, I continued the session and think it went quite well. Not only was it one of the most frightening, exhilarating, scary and rewarding experiences that I have ever had, the months and months of preparation leading up to the event improved my technical skills exponentially from where they had been before.
Now with every presentation I deliver, I always learn hugely from each experience.
After SQLBits 7 I decided that I wanted more and have gone on to present at every SQLBits since (to date). I have also delivered sessions to many major SQL conferences and community events around the world, seen places I would have never seen, have met people I would have never met and embraced the SQL Community in ways that I had never realized possible.
So to the SQLBits Committee who made it all this possible and started my enormously rewarding journey, I would like to say a special thank you!
SQLBits I think I ♥ you!