Blog Post

Tell My Story of Public Speaking


This month the fine folks behind New Stars of Data and the DataGrillen Newcomer Track bring us the Tell Your Story blog party. Where we are asked to tell one of the following:

  • What got you into speaking?
  • What was your first speaking experience like? How could it have been better?
  • What made you decide (not) to become a public speaker?
  • How was your experience mentoring a new speaker?
  • Which new speaker(s) have impressed you?
  • Why do you think new speakers are important for us as a community?

Whatever it is that makes you passionate, happy, frustrated, confused, excited…

Public speaking used to terrify me.  I’m the one that passed out in eighth grade in front of everyone reciting a poem and dreaded the memorization of such things every six weeks all through high school.  I just about got sick to my stomach each time I had to do it and my mind would just go blank.  Fast forward almost 20 years and my boss tells me I should submit to this thing called an SQLSaturday.  I’m like sure, in my head going I’d never get selected.  Umm…maybe he should have told me something more like local people get selected, he was on the selection committee along with a coworker who was the main organizer.  I feel like I was tricked into this, really what was he thinking????

So, I muster up 30 or more slides on HADR for SQL Server one of my favorite topics.  I have log shipping, mirroring, clustering, and availability groups.  That should last an hour easy right, nope?  I got done in 30 minutes, I didn’t have demos, how could demo all that anyways on my tiny laptop?  Everyone was happy though and said they learned a lot.

Well, my boss had gotten me to submit to another event that happened the following week.  I added about 25 slides and finished in 45 minutes (how did I do that?).  Well from then in I seemed to have had the speaking bug.  I just enjoyed people learning things from me even though I’m nowhere near the expert on that subject, I have a perspective and knowledge that is valuable.  So I did like 3 SQLSaturdays, then 6 the next year, then like 18, and a bunch of other stuff, and it has cascaded from there.

But it has led to much more than speaking.  I’ve mentored people in speaking, and different aspects of their careers.  I started speaking on mental health right before the pandemic which has opened up so much for me and others.  People know they aren’t alone.  I’ve built a family in the community.  I’ve had more than one person tell me because they had seen me speak they knew they could too.

But I would say for the data community this is what speaking has done for me, advanced my career, let me help others professionally and personally, and given me a family.

The post Tell My Story of Public Speaking first appeared on Tracy Boggiano's Blog.

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