Why I present

April 9, 2013

Louis Davidson just asked me why I write, and now Bob Pusateri (@sqlbob) is asking me why I present, which is his question for this month’s T-SQL Tuesday.


If you didn’t follow the link to see his actual question, you’ll need to know that he actually posed the question “How did you come to love presenting?”

Well, sometimes I don’t, but on the whole, I have to admit that presenting is part of who I am, and I miss it if I’m not presenting. It’s why despite being a PASS board member (that link will only seem relevant if you’re reading this while I’m still one) and having plenty of reason to NOT present at the PASS Summit in 2013, I’ve submitted the maximum number of abstracts for consideration. It’s why I want to be teaching more, both online and in the classroom, and so on.

It’s not that I think I have anything important to say (although I do only ever teach / present on things that I think are important).

It’s not that I think I’m good at presenting (my feedback scores beg to differ).

It’s not that I’m comfortable presenting (I still get ridiculously nervous most of the time).

I’m just addicted to it.

It’s a drug – it really is.

I spend my time walking around the room, or around the stage, explaining things to people, watching for those moments when the audience gets it, and… well, I’m addicted to it.

If you watch http://www.sqlbits.com/Sessions/Event5/Designing_for_simplification, you’ll see a few things. I was in Wales, and had started with the few words in Welsh that I know (but that’s been edited out – hopefully when I thought I was saying ‘hello’ I wasn’t actually insulting anyone). I nearly fell off the stage. I broke the microphone. I typed some things wrong in my queries. People complained that I didn’t say anything significant…

But around 33:10 in, you hear the audience almost start clapping. IN THE UK (where people don’t clap for presentations). It’s a moment where people see something they weren’t expecting, and (hopefully) realise the potential in what they’ve heard.

Phil Nolan wrote nicely about me on his blog, and said “Those of you who know Rob Farley will know he’s a funny guy with an enormous armoury of shockingly bad jokes.” More importantly though, he wrote “His design tips challenged a number of our ideas and meant I took away many valuable techniques,” which helped me know why I present.

…because it’s not about me, it’s about you. I present because at least one of the people in the audience will benefit from it. And that’s addictive.


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