14 responses

  1. Thomas LaRock
    September 27, 2012


    Great post with suggestions for new speakers to soak up. I would also add something simple: be yourself.

    It is important to understand what other people do to be successful, but at the end of the day you need to be yourself and not pretend to be like someone else.

    When you are yourself, you have confidence, and that confidence will come through as you speak.


    • Erin Stellato
      September 27, 2012


      Thanks for the comment, and an excellent point. I completely agree. As much I might admire the presenting style of another, that style will not work for me because it’s simply not who I am. The same is true for blogging. You can try to write the same types of posts as other people, or try to be funny or whatever, but if that’s not fundamentally what you’re about, it won’t work.

      Thanks, and a very good reminder.


  2. John Sterrett
    September 28, 2012


    Great blog post. I am going to make sure I share it with some friends who are giving their first presentation up at SQL Saturday in Pittsburgh next week.


    • Erin Stellato
      September 28, 2012

      Thanks John! And have fun in Pittsburgh!

  3. Rick Krueger
    September 28, 2012

    Erin, thanks for the great advice. I went to your ‘Making Sense of Statistics’ presentation at SQLSaturday #161. I thought your trivia before the presentation was a fantastic way to engage the audience before you even started. I’m thinking about doing something similar, once I come up with my own spin on it.

    • Erin Stellato
      September 28, 2012


      I’m glad you found it to be a good way to start a session as well. I know that not everyone will like it – but I’ll never be able to get everyone to like something :) I look forward to seeing what you come up with!


  4. Merrill Aldrich
    September 28, 2012

    Great post. Inspired by your second point, I put up some instructions for a simple recording setup here: http://sqlblog.com/blogs/merrill_aldrich/archive/2012/09/28/speaker-prep-tip-use-the-av-studio-built-into-that-laptop.aspx

    • Erin Stellato
      September 28, 2012

      That’s awesome Merrill, thanks for sharing!

  5. Edwin Sarmiento
    September 30, 2012

    Great post, Erin. Not too many presenters advocate rehearsals especially if presenting/speaking is what they do for a living. I treat presentations like a performance – I’m sure even The Grateful Dead or Pearl Jam practice before concerts and great actors rehearse their scripts before the film starts rolling. Rehearsing is important especially for speakers whose native language isn’t English. I did a blog post about my disaster recovery presentation at last year’s SQLRally explaining why I do what I do during presentations

    One thing I can add up is to create an exciting PowerPoint slide deck. As Brent mentioned on his blog post on how to deliver a killer technical presentation, everyone expects a set of boring, text-filled slides. In order for the audience to remember you as a speaker, make your slides stand out from the rest – proper fonts, colors, pictures, etc. Great slides may be a presenter’s lead to a great opportunity.

    Even a technical audience can see the difference between common and outstanding. I keep 2 sets of slides – one for presentation and one as a handout. It’s hard work but at the end of the day, the presentation is about the audience and not me. I use Presentation Zen, slide:ology and Resonate as my references when preparing my slide decks and presentations.

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