T-SQL Tuesday #41: How I Started Presenting

TSQL2sDay150x150For my first T-SQL Tuesday post this is an appropriate title. I love speaking. It all started when the call for speakers came out for the very first South Florida IT Pro Camp. At the time I was a practicing project manager and was looking for excuses to keep my technical skills up-to-date. I was finding this particularly difficult to do in my day-to-day job.

I had just returned from Tech-Ed 2011 where I had a complete blast. I had approached that conference much differently than any other conference that I had ever been to. I decided that I was going to converse with as many people as I could (skip sessions if I had to) and attend every party. The key for me was to network as much as possible. The sessions were going to be online later but the technical expertise that had come together for four days was only temporary.

What I learned from Tech-Ed 2011 was that I really enjoyed participating in a community (yes, a conference is a temporary community) and talking tech with geeks. I actually learned more from the one-on-one conversations during that conference than from the sessions that I did attend. Since I wasn’t having these kind of conversations at work  I realized that I would need to do something different. It was then that I found out that community events such as code camps typically have a speaker dinner the night before the event. For me that was like hitting the Daily Double. I could not only have some great technical discussions but they would be with some of the brightest people in our industry. But I still wasn’t convinced. So I took to twitter where Ryan Parsley (blog | twitter) gave me some encouragement so I decided to submit. So if you ever sit into one of my sessions you can blame Ryan.

I spent the next few weeks gathering information and putting a presentation together. It was a bit scary. And as I recall I took a few vacation days to work on the presentation. During the preparation, I do recall doubting myself and thinking “Who am I to be in front of an audience?”  I think I ran through the presentations at least five or six times before the event. I was nervous but not as much as I thought I would be. The night before the event was the speaker dinner and I wasn’t disappointed. I engaged in a few excellent conversations. The day of the event I gave the presentation (Introduction to Project Management) and had a blast. It was so much fun. It wasn’t long before I had signed up for a SQL Saturday and a Code Camp.

Six months later I started dotNet Miami and was helping others find the love of speaking while sharing their knowledge. I haven’t been speaking very long but