Speaking? You? Go on. #tsql2sday #84

This is a blog post for this month’s T-SQL Tuesday post, hosted by Andy Yun (b|t). T-SQL Tuesday is a monthly blog event started by Adam Machanic (b|t). The T-SQL Tuesday topic this month was about advice for new speakers. Thanks Andy for hosting. I have created a channel in the SQL Server Community Slack for presenting which everyone can make use of to ask and to answer questions

I think you should share what you know with others.

You will be amazing.

I will give you some great advice I learnt from a fantastic person’s blog post

  1. Start speaking
  2. Keep going
  3. Listen to feedback
  4. That’s it.

Kendra has said it all, you don’t need to read any further 😉

 

 

 

 

However..

Not all plain sailing

I love giving sessions but I never knew or thought that I would. My journey to speaking started at my SQL user group in Exeter and two fabulous people Jonathan and Annette Allen who encouraged me to share some PowerShell with the group. I was terrified, didn’t think I was worthy, my HDMI output wasn’t strong enough to power the projector, I had to transfer my slides and demo to Jonathans laptop. It was a fraught and frustrating experience.

My second presentation was done on Stuart Moores MacBook Pro using Office Online for presentations and Azure for demos. Again a change right at the last minute and using a machine I didn’t know (and a different keyboard set-up).

Stuff will go wrong. Murphy’s Law will always show his head somewhere and no matter how often you test and re-test your demos, sometimes an odd thing will make them stop working

There will be problems and issues, you can mitigate some of them by following the 6 P’s

Proper Preparation Prevents Pretty Poor Performance.

You can read some great blog posts in this T-SQL Tuesday Series and also this one from Steve Jones or any of these But also accept that these things happen and you must be prepared to shine on through the darkness if the power runs out or use pen and paper or even plastic cups like John Martin 🙂

You never know you might enjoy it

I found I enjoyed it and wanted to do more and since then I have presented sessions in a wide variety of places. It was very strange to have been sat watching and listening to all of these fantastic presenters thinking I could never do that and then find out that actually it is something that I enjoy doing and find fun. You can do that too.

Equally, it’s ok to not enjoy it, think its not worth the stress and hassle and support the community in a different way but at least give it a go

You will be nervous

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I shared a train across Germany with someone who had attended the PSMonday conference in Munich and they were astonished when I said that I get very nervous before speaking. It’s ok to be nervous, the trick is to make use of that nervous energy and turn it into something positive.

I get very nervous before presentations. My hands shake, I sweat, I either babble or loose my voice. I fret and fidget and check everything a thousandillion times. I find it is better for me if I am sat in the room during the previous presentation as that generally helps me to feel more relaxed as I can listen to their talk and also out of respect for the presenter and the organisation it forces me to sit quietly.

You will find your own way to deal with this, maybe listening to music on headphones or just sitting quietly somewhere. Don’t worry if it is not immediately obvious, try some different things, talk with others and believe me, it will be ok.

Don’t try to numb it with alcohol

Once I get up and its ‘my’ turn I take a few deep breaths and suddenly presenter turns on and I forget all about being nervous.

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Something to talk about

I have nothing to talk about.

Or everyone else knows more than I do.

Or X Y and Z talk about this much better than I do.

I’m scared

Richard Munn and I gave an impromptu session at SQL Relay in Cardiff where we talked about and hopefully encouraged people to start speaking and these statements came up.

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Heres (a little of) what we said

No-one knows everything. Many people know a hell of a lot but not everything. You know a lot more than you realise and you also know things that no-one else does.

If you are stuck for things to talk about think about the you of 6 months or a year ago and something that you have learnt in that time and write the session that you wish you could have seen then. There will be other people at a similar stage who will appreciate it.

Don’t be scared, they are only people.

Practice

My dog is the one person who has been present at my presentations the most. He has listened (sometimes intently) to me practicing.

You need to practice speaking out loud.

You need to understand the timings

You need to be comfortable with hearing yourself speaking out aloud

You need to practice speaking out loud

A double reminder because I think it is important. You should practice and practice and practice with an eye on your timings and if you have a good friend who is technical or a small group at work for a lunchtime maybe then ask them if they will listen and give feedback.

Wanna chat?

I am very passionate about community involvement and lucky enough to be involved in two fantastic communities – the SQL community and the PowerShell community and have made some great friends along the way. I was amazed and proud when very soon after my second presentation someone told me that I had inspired them to start to present.

Since then I have gone out of my way to encourage other people to speak and to blog and am really enjoying watching them blossom. If you want to have a chat via email or via slack about speaking or blogging or getting involved in the community please feel free to contact me and I promise you I will get back to you. Better still go to the SQL Community Slack and ask questions in #presentingorspeaking

Go find out more

We are good at sharing and learning technical content but we can share and learn about so much more, about all aspects of our life. Go and read all of the other posts in this T-SQL Tuesday for starters 🙂 and develop

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PSConfAsia 2016

I have just got back to the UK from Singapore following the amazing PSConfAsia conference. I must say that Matt, Milton, Sebastian and Ben did a fantastic job organising this conference and were proud that there was a notable increase in attendees from last year.

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The conference began (unofficially) with a PowerShell User group session in the Microsoft Offices on Wednesday where Ravi Chaganti spoke about DSC

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and then Desmond Lee lead a Q and A session. In the end we decided that all the answers were

It Depends and Test in your Environment

That evening, I even managed to jump on the PASS PowerShell Virtual Chapter session by Scott Sutherland Hacking SQL Servers on Scale using PowerShell the recording of which is here  A session organised and managed online in three different time zones by Aaron Chrissy and myself :-).

On Thursday the conference proper started with a pre-con day at the Amazon Web Services office. Yes, you read that right. This conference really highlighted the cross-platform direction and adoption of open-source that Microsoft is taking.  Jason Yoder spent all day teaching a group “PowerShell for Beginners” in one room

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while The Amazon Web Services Team showed DevOps on AWS with PowerShell in the morning and June Blender gave a SAPIEN Toolmaking Seminar.fter this we went back to the Microsoft Offices for another User Group where Jason Yoder gave a (nother) session with Jaap Brasser on PowerShell Tips and Tricks (Demo)

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Friday started with The PowerShell Team represented by Kenneth Hansen & Angel Calvo talking about PowerShell Past, Present and Future. It was really good that there was such great access to the product team at the conference and I saw lots of interaction around the conference as well, in addition to the sessions they provided.

Next up for me was another session from the PowerShell Team, this time Hemant Mahawar & Jason Shirk taking us on a Journey Through the Ages of PowerShell Security

Execution Policy is not a security feature

That took us to lunch, we were treated to excellent lunches at this conference

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After lunch I sat in the PowerShell Teams Ask Us Anything session although I was mainly preparing for my own session Powershell Profile Prepares Perfect Production Purlieu which followed. There were excellent sessions on JEA, Nano Server, Chef and DSC, Containers, ETS and securing PowerShell against malware whilst I attended Flynn Bundy’s session about Windows Containers and Building GUIs with XAML with David Das Neves

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That evening, organisers, speakers and attendees all went to the Penny Black pub on Marina Bay and enjoyed some food, refreshments and networking

Saturday started slowly after the rain (another impressive ‘feature’ of Singapore)  but the first session was a brilliant one with Hemant Mahawar & Jason Shirk talking Pragmatic PowerShell and answering questions. I am glad Jason used Carnac to show what he was typing so that people could (just about 🙂 ) keep up. I then attended the excellent session about contribution with Microsoft.

The rest of the day had amazing sessions on Azure Automation, IoT, AWS Cloud Formation, Centralised Repository Server, Chef, Puppet, Professional Help, Nano Server, Docker, DSC, Release Pipeline and of course some bearded fella talking about Installing SQL Scripts and creating Pester Tests for them and combining PowerShell, SQL, SSRS, PowerBi and Cortana 🙂

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My takeaways from the conference were that Microsoft is very open to all members of the open source community, DevOps is a very important topic and also the following points from the PowerShell team

PowerShell Team want YOU to contribute.
Interact with them
File bugs
Feature Requests
Documentation
Tests
Code

and

Fixing is better than complaining 🙂 @HemanMahawar #psconfasia You can help fix the documentation. Use the contribute button on the doc

and

If you are thinking of starting or run a PowerShell usergroup Microsoft would like help. Tag 1 of the team such as @ANGELCALVOS #psconfasia

Special thanks and congratulations must go to Matt, Milton, Sebastian and Ben for their excellent organisation and for creating an awesome event. I am looking forward to seeing how they can better it next year and also hoping that seeing all the fabulous speakers and sessions will inspire some attendees from this years event to share their own knowledge and experience at local user groups and even next years conference.

Making Start-Demo work with multi-line commands without a backtick

I love to speak about PowerShell. I really enjoy giving presentations and when I saw Start-Demo being used at the PowerShell Conference in Hanover I started to make use of it in my presentations.

Start-Demo was written in 2007 by a fella who knows PowerShell pretty well 🙂  https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/powershell/2007/03/03/start-demo-help-doing-demos-using-powershell/

It was then updated in 2012 by Max Trinidad http://www.maxtblog.com/2012/02/powershell-start-demo-now-allows-multi-lines-onliners/

This enabled support for multi-line code using backticks at the end of each line. This works well but I dislike having to use the backticks in foreach loops, it confuses people who think that they need to be included and to my mind looks a bit messy

start-demo

This didn’t bother me enough to look at the code but I did mention it to my friend Luke t | g who decided to use it as a challenge for his Friday lunch-time codeathon and updated the function so that it works without needing a backtick

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It also works with nested loops

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just a little improvement but one I think that works well and looks good

You can find it at

https://github.com/SQLDBAWithABeard/Presentations/blob/master/Start-Demo.ps1

and a little demo showing what it can and cant do

https://github.com/SQLDBAWithABeard/Presentations/blob/master/start-demotest.ps1

Load the Start-Demo.ps1 file and then run

Start-Demo PATHTO\start-demotest.ps1

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Speaking at PowerShell Virtual Chapter and SQL Cardiff User Group this month

Just a quick post to say that I will be speaking at the PowerShell Virtual Chapter meeting this Thursday at 4pm GMT 12pm EDT and also at the Cardiff SQL User Group on Tuesday 31st March

I will be giving my Making Powershell Useful for your Team presentation

You have heard about PowerShell and may be spent a little bit of time exploring some of the ways in which it will benefit you at work. You want to be able to perform tasks more specific to your organisation and need to share them with your team. I will show you how you can achieve this by demonstrating

  • An easy way to learn the syntax
  • How to explore SQL Server with Powershell
  • How to turn your one off scripts into shareable functions
  • How to ensure that your team can easily and quickly make use of and contribute to PowerShell solutions
  • Where else to go for help

You can find out more about the Virtual Chapter here

http://powershell.sqlpass.org/ 

and the Cardiff meeting here

http://www.meetup.com/Cardiff-SQL-Server-User-Group/events/219492623/ 

The Cardiff meeting has been named The Battle Of The Beards as it features Tobiasz Koprowski: talking about Windows Azure SQL Database – Tips and Tricks for beginners and Terry McCann with SSRS Inception. I will be giving the same presentation as at the Virtual Chapter

I hope to see you at one or both sessions