I just ran across a great Blog post by Jen McCown (Blog | Twitter) about breaking into speaking. Speaking is something that I never thought I would do or enjoy doing until I bit the bullet and I did it. My first time was at SQL Saturday #47 in Phoenix just two months ago. I loved doing it so much that I am going to speak at SQL Saturday #73 Tomorrow in Orange County. It was amazing to have people sit down and actually be interested in what you want to share. I am by no means an “expert” or “master” at anything especially concerning Powershell and SQL Server but I am speaking about those items.
In twitter discussions and reading blogs from some of the big hitters in the community like Brent Ozar (Blog | Twitter) and Denny Cherry (Blog | Twitter) who are both “Experts” and “Certified Masters” with SQL Server among other things, I was convinced that they did not start out that way and that if I know something well enough, better then my audience anyway, that I can get up and speak about it. Up to the time my first session started I was very nervous and pretty much regretting the decision all around. But once things got going and I had a full room and everyone was looking up at me and actually paying attention all that went away. Now I was just a guy talking about Tech that we are all interested in. I, and I am sure you, have heard a hundred times or more, “Content is King”. If you have something to talk about that even one person is interested in then you should talk about it. That person will find you and I am willing to bet that many more will follow.
The SQL Server Community, as far as I know, is made up of great people that are all willing and in most cases eager to learn and share knowledge. I think that is the biggest thing that makes our community stand out from others. I have never felt so welcome into a tech community as I do the SQL Server Community and that is because of all of us. Most of us are happy to help and see each other succeed. I know that Brent Ozar has said this before and I agree 100%. This is a quote from Brent’s most recent post, “I feel most successful when those around me succeed”. (Read more: http://www.brentozar.com/#ixzz1Iy6Zo7vR
Copyright 2011 Brent Ozar. All rights reserved.) I love that he said this and I think that most of us feel that way. At least those of us that are active in the community. That is why so many smart people hang out on the #sqlhelp hash tag on twitter helping everyone that asks. It is a great thing and I can’t thank all who have helped me enough.
In closing I only have this advice. GO OUT AND DO IT!!! I know it can be scary to stand up and speak in front of peers and you may feel that you do not have the amount of knowledge that they do in some areas, but that is OK. Go talk about what you know and they will come… Start at local groups, do a video cast on your blog, speak at a SQL Saturday and if you are crazy do it at the PASS SUMMIT. I must be crazy because I am thinking of submitting a session for pass. I think you will be surprised at how fun it can be and how all the jitters will work themselves out once you get going. Just Practice until you know it inside and out and then practice some more. I really think that was the key to my success. And do not be afraid to get some negative comments, just take it in stride and use it to better your next session but do not give up because one person has something bad to say.