T-SQL Tuesday #84 – Growing New Speakers

T-SQL Tuesday #84

This month’s T-SQL Tuesday topic Growing New Speakers has been graciously hosted by Andy Yun (blog|twitter). The topic has a dual nature that allows presenters and bloggers of all experience levels to participate.

  • Experienced presenters have a chance to teach / guide / mentor new or novice speakers
  • The uninitiated are challenged to start the journey to becoming a speaker

As an inexperienced speaker, I was incredibly excited when I saw this topic, as I’ve been toying with the idea of crafting a presentation to give at an upcoming user group or SQL Saturday. I took the opportunity to give a lightning talk on Ownership Chaining at the New England SQL Server User Group meeting in February, and I’ve been looking for a chance to step up my game. The idea of talking for an hour in front of a group of strangers frankly terrifies me, but I believe I can formulate a strategy to overcome that fear. This post is the start of a work in progress that will eventually lead to a presentation.

Target Audience

I think it’s important to first decide who my target audience will be. Thus far, the intended audience for my blog has been “the newbie version of myself”, and I think I’d be most comfortable speaking to a similar crowd for my first real presentation. My favorite presentations to attend have typically been those about career growth and professional development, so I’m leaning in that direction.


Something along the lines of “Career advice for the new DBA.” I’m playing with the idea of talking about a combination of:

  • The transition to being a DBA from some other role (tech support, sysadmin, or developer)
  • How to be a successful junior DBA
  • How to be a successful experienced DBA at a new company

The challenge is coming up with original content and not coming off as derivative of several well-known community leaders. I believe that everyone has a voice, and that everyone has a story to tell, I just need to find a way to present the value of my perspective.


This is where I think I want to have some fun. I would love to pull off some sort of collaborative format for this presentation:

  • Solicit feedback from readers and present anecdotes to a group
  • Solicit stories and advice from users at a group; ad-hoc sharing.
  • Other ideas?

If the logistics of collaborative format prove to be a roadblock, think of how I want to structure a more standard presentation:

  • Will there be any demos?
  • Is it acceptable to showcase and give credit to others that inspired me and helped me be successful in my journey?
  • Will I have anecdotes of my own?


Do I want this to be more of a technical presentation or more high level? Come back to my target audience and think of what would be most useful to them. What do they want to hear? What DON’T they want to hear? How much of the presentation do I want to be specific to SQL? Database administration? The ancillary components to a successful career as a data professional?

To be continued…

Michael Kane


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