Becoming a presenter

by Stephen Andert

When growing up, I tried to avoid standing out in a crowd, but since I was a blond-haired, blue-eyed "gringo" in the mountains of South America, that was not likely to happen.
As a result of many years of just trying to blend in and never trying to stand out in a crowd, I gave myself a bit of an introverted mentality.

As I've started learning more about Oracle and discovered that there may be one or two people that I could teach something. Maybe I'm overestimating my knowledge, but if I can share something I've learned or discovered with even a few others, that's something I should try to do.

To overcome my fear of public speaking, I joined a local Toastmasters
club. That is a supportive environment to gain confidence and receive the feedback necessary to become a better speaker. I highly recommend spending some time in a Toastmasters club to gain confidence and find ways to become a better speaker and presenter.

Next up was to actually present to a group of technical peers and hopefully share something that is beneficial. I wrote an article on tuning SQL*Loader which O'Reilly published on their web site.

The response I received from the people that read the article was very positive, so I took that to mean the topic was good and there was interest. I submitted an abstract to my local user group, AZORA, was accepted and made my first presentation to a technical group. I can't say what most of the group thought about it, but at the next meeting a few months later, one of the people told me they were having a great deal of success using the things I presented.

Building on that success, I submitted an abstract for IOUG 2002, but failed to make the cut. I have since made some enhancements to the presentation and am doing some benchmarking to compare some new features in Oracle 9i to make the presentation have a wider and more current appeal. I submitted it again for IOUG 2003 and am waiting for the response.

If I get accepted, it will be another milestone in my journey from introvert to extrovert while maintaining my hard-earned computer nerd status.

Wish me luck or give me advice...