Presentation Goals For 2017

In light of my 2016 goals, I’ve decided to make my 2017 speaking goals a little bit more ambitious and keep them public. To wit:

Speak at 20 SQL Saturday and 10 User Groups

Last year, I broke both of these barriers, so you might wonder how this is particularly ambitious. The way I figure it, when combined with the other goals, getting out to 20 separate SQL Saturdays will be a bit harder, as there are only so many weeks (and weekends) in the conference season.

So far, I am locked into three SQL Saturdays: Nashville, Vienna, and Cleveland.

Speak at 2 Paid Conferences

Last year, my goal was to speak at one paid conference. This year, I’m pushing it up to two. This is a harder goal than SQL Saturday-related goals mostly because paid conferences usually mean travel during the week, and being in management—even as low a level of management as I’m in—makes that a little harder.

Give 6 Webinars

Here’s the big one for me. I have presented two webinars to date. Webinars are an area I have neglected in the past, focusing instead on in-person presentations. Speaking in person is a bit easier than giving a webinar for a few reasons. First, you get to warm up the audience before the session, priming them for a good talk. You also get to see how well the material is going over: if they’re laughing at your jokes and looking interested, you know you’re in the groove; if they seem confused, you can slow down and repeat things.

Without those kinds of audience cues, I want to create more of a subdued webinar experience. My goal is still to be educational and entertaining (to some extent, at least!), but I have stripped out some of the humor. I haven’t figured out how exactly to replace those gaps entirely smoothly, so that’s going to be part of my goal. After all, if I end up being terrible at webinars, I probably won’t hit my goal of 6!

Do A Full-Length, Pictures-Only Talk

I created a couple lightning talks this year which incorporate hand-drawn pictures, stealing the idea from David Neal, who does a much better job at it than I do. Regardless, I like the format and would like to do an entire talk in that style. It’s a bit of a risk, as I really want to do everything—including demos—in hand-drawn picture format. I think it would be an interesting, one-off style.

This isn’t something that I would want to do for every talk, but as I go over the talks I have today, I know that I’m a bit short on graphics, and I know of several places in talks where a simple picture can help me explain the concept better. Maybe this talk would help me get to that point.