Speaker of the Month: December 2015

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The hardest presentations I’ve ever given in my life were not to large audiences or in big rooms. They weren’t even when I had to present in front of people that I respect and admire (although presenting in front of Paul Randal (b|t) & Kim Tripp (b|t) gives me pause every single time, not sure why). I don’t mind presenting all day sessions. In fact, I love the all day format. Nope, the hardest presentations for me are five minute lightning talks. They’re brutal. They’re unforgiving. You have to stop. You only get five minutes to tell people whatever it is you’re going to tell them. Then its over. I’ve done three lightning talks. One of them, a rant on backup testing, I’ve given four or five times. The others all died ugly.

I’m telling you all this because the Speaker of the Month for December 2015 is everyone who took part in Speaker Idol at the PASS Summit this year. This is the second year for Speaker Idol. Basically it’s a contest, organized and run by Denny Cherry (b|t). The winner gets a speaking slot at Summit. You’re required to present a five minute, tightly timed, presentation on a topic of your choice. You’ll have a set of experienced speakers acting as judges who will score your presentation based on the topic, the delivery, slides, theatre, everything I ever talk about in these blog posts.

The winner this year was David Maxwell (b|t) who writes about the experience here. Unfortunately, I was busy with Board Stuff(tm, or it should be), so I missed his presentation. However, I saw several of the others and if David beat them…. WOW! These were some of the most polished, professional, rock solid, presentations I’ve seen. These were master classes on presentations. If you are trying to polish your presentation skills, get your hands on the recordings and learn.


  • Thanks for the shout-out, Grant. 🙂 It was indeed an impressive group of speakers. I was proud to share the stage with them, and hope to see them all presenting at Summit, soon.

  • Completely agree Grant. As an MCT I try to be very efficient in presenting material, especially in SQL Server courses since there is so much to cover in such a small amount of time. But even then, I still have a hard time boiling anything down to 5 minutes. Even after 15 years of experience, it still takes me about 10 minutes at the beginning of a course just to get over the nervousness of public speaking.

    So well done, lightning rock stars of SQL. A very excellent job indeed.

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