Perfecting my presentations

After a considerable amount of “umming and ahhing” last year I decided to start presenting full hour long sessions. Well, I decided to start submitting sessions to events and see what happened.

I’d presented a few lightening talks at SQL Saturdays and my local user group so I wanted to see if I could actually present a 60 minute long session to a group of my peers.

At first it really was just to see if I could do it. Public speaking terrifies me and I honestly thought I’d clam up and not be able to say a single word. But I started submitting…like crazy.

The first full session I did was at SQL Saturday Iceland and oh boy, was I nervous. I was on at 3pm and I think I spent most of that day wandering around the venue, trying not to freak out.

And then I was on. I was nervous but managed to get through it. All my demos worked, the attendees asked questions at the end (which to me means that I conveyed the topic clearly) and I finished on time, so goal achieved!

As the year went on, it became not just about being able to present my session but being able to present a high quality, thought provoking, well delivered session. I now knew that I could do it, it’s now about how well I can do it.

And that’s what I want to build on this year. I’ve got a couple of new sessions written and I’ll be presenting the first of them at SQL Bits in February.

I’m still working on the demos, I want them to be broken down into easy to understand parts so that each attendee will be able to download and run through with ease. That’s the key part for me.

As long as the demos work, the slides come second. I’m not great at designing slides so I keep them minimal, just with the points on that I’m trying to get across and I practice without looking at them (to avoid the dreaded “reading what’s on the slides” presentation).

So over the next year I’m hoping that I can build on the skills that I already have and be able to deliver the highest quality presentations that I can.

I’m really looking forward to the challenge.

Have a good week!

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