I’m honored to join the great group of people at SpeakingMentors.com as a mentor. I think it’s a wonderful effort to help new speakers improve their skills and confidence. Speaking at conferences and user groups has brought me a lot of new knowledge, friends, job opportunities, and travel opportunities. I’m so grateful to the people who provided feedback and encouragement to me over the last 5+ years since I started speaking. If you’d like to know more about how Speaking Mentors came to fruition, you can read about it here.
It can be scary to put yourself out there, but it is well worth it. And you have a host of mentors from which you can choose to support you and cheer you on. If you’ve been thinking about trying your hand at presenting and would like some free one-on-one guidance, this is your chance. If you are feeling unsure about presenting, I have a couple of thoughts for you:
- There is room for you as a speaker. Don’t be too concerned about having an absolutely special/unique/creative topic or take on a subject. If you have knowledge that other people would find interesting or useful, that is a great place to start. Your point of view and way of explaining things is valuable. Sometimes a speaker covers a topic that has been done a million times but says something in just the right way that it finally clicks for someone. Or someone brand new to the topic attends your talk and gets excited to learn more.
- While you should practice your presentations before delivering them and make sure you have good knowledge on your topic, it’s perfectly ok to not know all the answers to all the questions anyone could possibly ask. Also, even great presenters have shaky sessions every once in a while. Give it a good effort, but don’t be worried about being absolutely perfect.
On a related note, the Denver SQL User Group is currently looking for speakers for our April through November meetings. We meet on the third Thursday of the month, and we have a 30-minute presentation and a 60-minute presentation in each meeting. A 30-minute presentation at a user group is a great way give speaking a try. If you learned something interesting about the Microsoft Data Platform or you solved a cool tech problem at work, volunteer to present about it. Contact me on twitter or send an email to Events (at) DenverSQL (dot) org to chat about speaking at a future meeting. We’re friendly and there’s free food.