Sooner or later, despite your best efforts to rehearse, one of your demos will fail. You’re going to try to fix it really quickly without the audience noticing. It won’t work because the entire audience is at least vaguely familiar with the subject material. Your entire delivery will instantly come unglued. Your posture will change, your voice will get quieter. Watch the body language of the presenter on the right: The presenter clearly feels like he’s lost control of the demo – and the crowd – when in reality, he’s got an amazing opportunity. Don’t get me wrong, he’s under a…Read
Trying to figure out what to submit for 2015 conference abstracts? Over and over, I see people describing their session in terms of how awesome it’ll be, or what a great time the attendee will have, or how the presenter is really excited about the topic. Nobody cares. Seriously. Put the exclamation points down. tl;dr – here’s the winning formula: Identify the pain that’s driving an attendee crazy. Build the simplest, fastest, cheapest relief for that pain. Describe the pain and the relief in as few words as possible. It’s that simple. But this is one of my favorite subjects, so I’ll…Read
Ten-minute presentations aren’t easier than 60-75 minute sessions. They’re much, much harder. Start by writing the first sentence and the last sentence. If you only have ten minutes, you don’t get the luxury of an agenda slide or a recap slide – you get a single sentence for each. Ideally, the first sentence describes a pain or a frustration with not understanding a concept. Here’s examples I’ve used: Database administrators often wonder what the term CXPACKET means. Are you stumped about SQL Server licensing under virtualization? Why are we supposed to make sure Page Life Expectancy is over 300? These sentences can seem cryptic…Read
“To learn more, go here.” Say this while pointing at the screen, which is displaying a short link to a page on your blog. That page has your list of resources – not just things you’ve written, but things you find interesting about the topic. Why? Because you just got done presenting about a topic you love, and you’ve gotten the audience excited about it too. They already picked your session because they needed help with something, and you’ve shown a few ways to get started. Now they see you as an expert, and they want to keep the learning going.…Read
One of the things I love about conferences is that I’m suddenly surrounded by hundreds or thousands of people who do exactly the same thing I do for a living. We work in kind of a loner field – data professionals often have to work alone in an organization, with nobody else to understand what we do. It’s incredibly therapeutic to suddenly be able to talk to someone else who gets it. We can vent together about how tough our work is (and how rewarding it is when we get it right.) Before you know it, you’ve made lifelong friends…Read
UPDATE 30 Oct – Good news! The SQLbits organizers reversed course on this decision and let presenters opt out of the pre-con recordings. I’ve submitted sessions (including pre-cons) and I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll get accepted. Hope to see everybody in London! Here’s the original post: I’ve glowed about how much I love SQLbits, but I’m going to have to miss the 2015 version. Session submission is going on right now, and the speaker contract includes a tricky line: “If I am selected to present a Training day, then I understand that SQLBits may record the session. Distribution of…Read
I did four sessions at this past SQLbits – so how’d I do? Watch Brent Tune Queries The content of this session is as self-explanatory as it gets. I start with a handful of slides explaining my thought process when I approach a slow query, and then I go into SQL Server Management Studio, show a slow query, and gradually make it go faster. The title alone breaks common conference rules – you’re not supposed to have your name in the abstract, for example – but I’m vain enough to think it makes sense here. If you like the title,…Read
So you want to be “Internet Famous” in the IT community, but you don’t want to spend your mornings and weekends slaving away on the work I described in my last post? I’ve got good news – there’s an easier way. Think About Celebrities You “Know” If you’re like me, you watch television, and you’d count some/many/most of the people on TV as celebrities, for various values of celebrity. For example, I was walking down a New Orleans street after dark once and saw Josh Harris, now skipper of the Cornelia Marie, a crab boat on the show Deadliest Catch. He had…Read
There’s a lot of reasons to blog, present, and build a brand – get a better job, change careers, raise your billable rate – but what if you just want to be known by name amongst the community? I was chatting with a blogger about how to be successful, and the first step was defining what success meant to him. One of his goals was to be recognized when he walked into a conference – but he didn’t want to “be famous for being famous,” like a Kardashian kind of thing. I know some of you are going to cringe,…Read
Read this if you’re a #SQLPASS attendee – you’re the one I’m trying to help. Last week I wrote about how conference organizers pick sessions, and I closed by talking about how there’s no clear right or wrong way. However, some ways are wronger than others, and today let’s talk in general terms about what happens when things go wrong. I can’t possibly discuss this subject with actual speaker names lest I hurt people. (Disclaimer: that’s a dark music video about drugs and violence, but the song is insanely danceable and catchy, and it’s been stuck in my head for weeks. You’re welcome.)…Read
Hi. I’m Brent.
I live in Iceland with my wife Erika. I'm on an epic life quest to have fun and make a difference.
I co-founded Brent Ozar Unlimited to help make your SQL Server go faster. I also maintain sp_Blitz® and the open source First Responder Kit repo.