I had the first time slot of the day so I woke up while it was still dark to practice my demos one last time. I had a wake up call and an alarm set, but I didn’t need either of them because I lay awake for about thirty minutes going over my presentation in my mind before I finally got up. I had broken the set up on my first demo before I went to bed and rather than stress over it I had decided to look at it again after a good night’s sleep. Proving that with age I am starting to get some wisdom, the issue with the demo was obvious when I woke up and started looking at it. It took about ten seconds to fix and I had time to practice both demos before I left for SQL Saturday.
I arrived at MATC, the venue for SQL Saturday Madison, about thirty minutes early so I could set up and be ready to go. I found my room, connected my laptop and set up my Pop-Tarts*. I was oddly calm and as people came in I made small talk and even managed to crack a few jokes. Before too long it was time to start the presentation and most of the seats in the room were full. After practicing my presentation so many times I was finally presenting in front of a live studio audience. All of that practice must have paid off because the whole things seemed (and I am a little scared to say this) …well…it seemed…easy. I did make a couple mistakes and I missed a step in one of the demo’s, but I saw it right away and I believe I recovered quickly. People laughed at the parts they were supposed to laugh at and I’m pretty sure they were laughing with me.There were natural breaks for questions and each time people actually had questions, most of which I was able to answer. I used almost the exact amount of time allotted and even had a few people coming up with questions after the presentation was over.
There are definitely some things I can improve for next time, but I was really pleased with how it went. I had fun and I was pretty sure people learned something.
OK, the cool thing is that I don’t have to take my own view on how things went because almost everyone in the room took the time to fill out their evaluation slip. What’s more, I got to read all of my feedback right away. The session was rated on a scale of 1 – 5 and my average was 4.6! A couple of people said they thought the presentation had very detailed demos and I took this as a good thing.
I didn’t go see anyone talk during the session immediately after mine because my mind was buzzing. My plan had been to go to Norm Kelm’s (B|T) talk on new features of SSIS, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to sit still. Instead I sat down in an out of the way spot, read my evaluations and tried to soak in the experience. I can’t wait to do it again.
One last thing. My unofficial guide to speaking at SQL Saturday,Mark Vaillancourt (B|T), was in the room for my talk. He and Norm both helped to answer the questions from the audience and gave me great words of encouragement. A big thanks to both of them.
*There was a vicious rumor that there would be no breakfast for SQL Saturday 118 and I thought I would be able to bribe my audience with Pop-Tarts.