First Presentation – Post Mortem

So it is done, it being my first presentation at a professional event.   As you may recall, I recently presented at Sql Saturday Orlando.  Looking back at the experience I say it was definitely positive, and I’m going to detail the entire weekend and things that I might change for the next one.

Starting with the lead up to the event, I managed to lose my VM that contained my AdventureWorks database with all my examples! (Good job IT guy, whereas your back up?)  Fortunately I had the majority of the concepts fresh in my mind and I whipped up another set of examples and dataset.   I didn’t end up using AdventureWorks as I forget what is in each table, and which tables I need for which example.  I ended up reworking a few of the examples the day of the event, which made me even more nervous, but yet solidified the knowledge in my mind.

Going to the event, we had decided that we would take Anna, and leave Matias with grandma, which worked out great as we would get one-on-one time with Anna, and grandma would get one-on-one time with Matias, a welcome time.  For lodging, Natalie has family living very close to the event location and they extended the invite to stay with them once they learned of our trip.

The Friday night prior to the event, I was invited to goto the Speakers dinner but since we were staying with family, I thought we should probably spend some time with our actual host,  rather than the event host, but next time, I’m going to do what I can to make it.  As a side note, I *KNOW* this is the place to get to know other speakers, pick their brains, and learn how to do better at presenting, but alas, family must come first, its the reason I do all this.

Now since we stayed with family, cousin Renee thought it a good idea to knock on our room at 5am and inquire if I’d like to join him for a morning run, while I like the concept, I wasn’t feeling it, and opted for another half hour of sleep.  Being a bit nervous, despite telling my wife I’m not nervous about anything, I couldn’t get back to sleep so I just got up and started moving.   Having a half hour head start, I arrived at campus early, only finding a few folks who were setting up.   A few minutes later when the event organizer Karla showed up, she recognized bodies not in motion and started putting a few of us to work on setup, which I happily oblidged.

Once the morning got started, I grabbed some breakfast (Dunkin, yum!!),  took in a few sessions and talked to a few vendors, all things you would expect of a professional event.   Mid-morning I decided to skip a session and go over my session again and ended up making a few changes and made a few notes.  The more I worked with the matieral the better I felt about it, which was taking the edge off.

Towards the end of the day, my session time came up and I found my way to my assigned room.  All technical hookups went well and then I sat and waited for the people.   Waiting was quite tricky.  Do you talk to folks as they come in?  Do you look at your laptop and pretend to do work that doesn’t need to be done?  Do I tripple check everything?  Anyone who knows me will have guessed, I opted for the first, talking, my forte.  I chatted up a few folks, and then more came.  I talked to those folks, and then more came.   To my suprise, all seats were taken before the session started and there were six to eight folks standing in the back!!!

During the presentation, I did mispeak once, and recieved a slight correction from a friend in the crowd, but other than that, I thought it went well.   One thing that I need to work on is time.  I ended up speaking right up until the end and was only able to take a few questions, so I will definately need to work on that.   I recieved about fifteen feedback forms that all had positive comments.

I think there was one comment on a feedback card that can sum up the presentation:   ‘When you start presenting in larger rooms, your font will need to be increased, great job!’

All in all, I think it was good, and I’ll do it again.