SQLBits Speaker Training

A day with the SQLBits team

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SQLBits Speaker Training

A day with the SQLBits team

Peter Marriott

Firstly thank you to the SQLBits team and Microsoft for putting on the Speaker Training yesterday and particularly Simon Sabin and Guy Smith-Ferrier. It was a great day only marred by the awful traffic conditions getting there and back. Even though I spent six hours in a car there are still some things I can remember so it must have been good.

There were two highlights for me:

  • The critics of our own presentations
  • The ‘How to Give Great Demos’ session

The critics of our own presentations, there was a good balance between not crushing our egos and giving us something to work on.

The ‘How to Give Great Demos’ session

I had to laugh at this because about the first Guy said was “don’t, whatever you do, use a laser pointer”. Earlier this year I was presenting at Microsoft Cambridge and it was suggested that I needed a laser pointer as the screen was huge and I am use to training rooms where I can point to the screen.

He had good reasons and now I have been told I’ll start playing with Zoomit, as suggested.

Other pearls of wisdom were:

  • Introduce the context of the demo
  • Demo code is not production code, just the code to make the point
  • Don’t apologise that it is not production code and get on with the demo
  • Show the finished product so they know where you are going (unless you want to surprise them)
  • Keep the audience informed when you are typing
  • Slow the mouse down so it is clear what steps you are taking
  • Don’t use tools that aren’t part of the standard product e.g. Resharper
  • After the demo have a slide with the one thing you want to get across in the demo
  • Record the demo as a fall back, perhaps you need an internet connection and that isn’t guaranteed
  • Make code Lucida Console and set the size to 14 or 16
  • Increase the DPI (maybe)
  • Set the default highlight to Black text and yellow background
  • Set the screen resolution to the project size you are going to use 2 weeks before the presentation
  • Create a user on your laptop with all these settings
  • Dave McMahon radically suggested developing all the demos on the laptop so you know they will fit

This and a lot more is available on Guy’s site.