I owe many things to a twist of fate that placed me in front of the entirety of the attendees at the Professional Association for SQL Server Summit at Dallas, Texas in 2005. It was the second year that I’d produced the PASS Quizbowl along with Louis Davidson. We both enjoyed being “behind the curtain”; not expecting to have that change.
Then our host for the event cancelled 24 hours before Summit.
So, what is one to do when there is no time to bring someone new into the process, get them up-to-date and comfortable with the entire show? When you have less than a day before an event that you expect 2,000 attendees expecting you to put on a fun, engaging, and entertaining 20 minutes of, well, SOMETHING? You give it to ’em. Louis worked the controls and I stepped up on stage and put on a show, the whole time realizing that my fear of public speaking had to take a back seat to promises made.
Yes, I had a deep – almost visceral – fear of speaking in public.
That single event though also reminded me of how much fun I had in high school doing musicals and putting myself out there with a group of people. I realized I could also do it on my own as well.
Since then I’ve gone on to speak at SQL Saturdays, The PASS Summit, and SQL Connections. I’ve also spoken at user group meetings in the United States and England. I’ve also gone on to create my own twist on training events and have spoken on that as well: SQL Cruise. I never would have thought that I’d be presenting around the world – on land and sea – sometimes in front of 5 people, on occasions in front of thousands. I had no aspirations to do such a thing.
Until I got a taste.
Oh, and Louis and I are getting ready to ramp up our 8th Quizbowl for Charlotte, North Carolina as well!
P.S. It was not until recently that I remembered something that I had taken part in an Optimist Club Oratorical Contest when I was either in 5th or 6th grade. I guess the writing was on the wall even back then.