3 Mistakes I Made While Presenting Remotely

3 Mistakes I Made While Presenting RemotelyTwo years ago I wrote about my experiences presenting a webinar for the first time. I learned a lot that day, and it helped me prepare for presenting remotely. But, a webinar is not the same as a remote presentation. And as much as you prepare and rehearse, you just won’t be prepared for every little thing that might happen until you’ve experienced them. So in addition to the advice I shared in my other blog post, here are 3 of my mistakes you don’t want to make if you’re planning to start presenting remotely :)

I didn’t ask the organizers enough questions before I started presenting

How many people are attending? What does the room look like? Is the screen large or small? Are people sitting close to the screen or in the back of the room? Can you see my webcam? Where is my webcam placed on the screen that the attendees see? Will I see your webcam?

I should have asked the organizers to spend 5-10 minutes with me before the session started so I could get a better idea of who I was presenting for and what they would see. When presenting live, I walk to the back of the room to check how much I need to zoom in during demos. I can see what everyone else sees on the screen. I can adjust to different room layouts. When presenting a webinar, I know that everyone will see the same as me on their own screens. I can watch my own webinar on a second screen so I can adjust to the lag. When presenting remotely, I don’t know anything about what the attendees see unless I ask. Maybe my webcam covered parts of my demo? Maybe I clicked too fast through my slides? I don’t know, but I should have known.

I didn’t test running all my software at the same time

We did a test call and Skype, my camera and my microphone all worked. But generating SSIS packages from Biml in Visual Studio at the same time as sharing my webcam plus my sound plus my screen? Uh, yeah, that didn’t really go too well on my old and tired laptop. Demos that usually take 2-3 seconds ran for nearly 30 seconds. Demos that usually take 30 seconds (and make my Visual Studio stop responding just long enough for me to grab a sip of water and joke about it) ran for several minutes. It felt like an hour. I don’t have that many jokes! I ran short on time because of this.

Waiting... Waiting... Still waiting...

I should have tested more before starting my presentation. While asking the organizers questions before the meeting (see previous point), I should also have asked them to do a quick dry run with me. They could have given me feedback on the most important part of my demos: Was everything visible from the back of the room? Is the call quality good enough to present in regular speed, or do I need to slow down more? And most importantly – does everything actually work with all the software I’m running at the same time?

I stared at my microphone while presenting

I used a Jabra speakerphone, that flat, round gadget that looks like a hockey puck. It was next to my keyboard, and I kept staring at it all through my presentation. Because, you know, all the attendees were sitting inside it, and I was presenting for them :)

I should have looked more into the camera. I didn’t, I looked at where the sound came from. I also leaned down several times to hear questions better, which must have looked rather funny. I’ve only presented with headphones in the past, so this was a new experience for me. I should have rehearsed more with this camera and microphone setup to get used to where to look and what gestures to make.

I made these mistakes so you won’t have to!

Well, ok, I didn’t do it on purpose ;) But I do hope you can learn something from my mistakes, so you will become a way better remote speaker than me! I also hope you can learn something from my previous experiences. What advice would you give to new speakers who are presenting remotely?

Presenting remotely for Malta Microsoft Data Platform User Group

Cathrine Wilhelmsen Presenting for Malta Microsoft Data Platform User GroupWoohoo! On Tuesday, March 28th, I will be doing a remote session for the Malta Microsoft Data Platform User Group. I will be presenting my Biml for Beginners: Speed up Your SSIS Development session, one of my favorites :)

The meeting starts with my remote session, then there’s a short break before moving on to Gossip Geek – “… your one and only source into the fabulous lives of Geek’s elite…”. I have no clue what that is, but it sounds fun, so make sure to attend if you’re in the area :D And if Business Intelligence, SSIS and Biml is not your thing, maybe Columnstore Indexes are? The meeting finishes with Slawomir Drzymala (@sdryzmala) presenting Columnstore Index – do we need another one?!.

The Malta Microsoft Data Platform User Group is brand new. It was started in January 2017, and this will be their third meeting. I’m very happy I get to help support a new local group! If you’re a speaker and want to do a remote (or on-site!) session, you can find Malta Microsoft Data Platform User Group on Meetup, Facebook and Twitter (@MMDPUG).

And of course, if you’re from Malta, make sure you join and attend the meetings! If the sessions that day aren’t super interesting, attend anyway for the networking :)

Wow, I haven’t written one of these posts for a long time! It feels great to slowly move back into the world of speaking again. Thanks for inviting me to speak, MMDPUG! I wish I could be there in person, but I’m really looking forward to presenting for you :)

Cathrine + PASS = New Community Evangelist

Cathrine WIlhelmsen is the new PASS Community EvangelistIt’s November, and that means I’m now officially a PASS employee! Yep, that’s right, I will be taking over as the PASS Community Evangelist after the wonderful Karla Landrum (@KarlaKay22). And to tell you the truth, it’s both extremely terrifying and super exciting at the same time :)

Many of you heard the news at PASS Summit 2016 after we announced it during the SQLSaturday organizers meeting, and I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who congratulated me afterwards. You are the community, and it truly means a lot to me to hear that you think I’m the right person for this role.

But wait, didn’t you just get a new job?
Yes, I did. I started as a consultant in Advania in June, and I’ve had a fantastic few months with them. They’ve been very supportive of everything I’ve done, they’re a great bunch of guys, and I can’t wait to see what they’ll accomplish in the next couple of years!

So why did you accept the job as a Community Evangelist?
My family and best friends in the community weren’t surprised when I told them :) The PASS and SQL Server community has been such an important part of my life for the past three years. Getting involved has literally changed my life. At my first PASS Summit in 2013 I was a shy, socially awkward person who was terrified of talking to people. At PASS Summit 2016 I was a speaker presenting two regular sessions and a lightning talk, and my favorite part of it all was getting to know lots of amazing new people. Volunteering in this community has given me so much, and this is my chance to give something back.

Does that mean you won’t be working in tech anymore?
Well, yes. I won’t work as a consultant or architect or developer and I won’t get hands-on experience with projects and clients. This is a full-time community job. I’m sure I will miss working in tech, but I will try to keep up with everything that’s going on in the Microsoft Data Platform world at events and on weekends. (Because, you know, once a geek, always a geek!)

What will you do as a Community Evangelist?
Support regional mentors, chapter leaders and SQLSaturday organizers, and look for opportunities to establish new chapters and SQLSaturdays. I will also be administering the SQLSaturdays and help events go live, blog, monitor social media, and work with the PASS Board of Directors and PASS Headquarters to support global growth.

Are you going to work from Norway?
For a while I will be working from Norway, then I will move to Vancouver in Canada so I can work closer with PASS Headquarters. Whoa! I’ve wanted to work abroad for a while, and this is a unique opportunity for me. I’ve always said I like to push myself out of my comfort zone. This time I’m pushing myself way out of my comfort zone and all the way over to a different continent.

Will you continue speaking and blogging?
Updated on November 3rd: My original post said that no, I will no longer be able to speak at PASS-branded events like SQLSaturdays and PASS Summit. That’s only partly true, and I apologize for not being clearer on this. Part of my job as a Community Evangelist is to share everything that PASS has to offer and opportunities for volunteering, especially at events where people are new to the PASS community. That means I will still be speaking, but I will be speaking as a PASS representative, for example doing lunch sessions at SQLSaturdays. However, I will no longer be submitting to speak at PASS events like I used to. I will definitely still be blogging, and I hope that I actually may get back to blogging more regularly – especially when my fingers start itching to get some hands-on experience with Biml and SQL Server again :)

WHAT WILL WE DO WITHOUT KARLA!?
PANIC! No, hopefully not :) Karla has been a fantastic Community Evangelist and I know people all around the world will miss her terribly! We have started the onboarding and handover process, and we will be working together for a couple of weeks so I can learn as much as possible about the job from her. While I know I won’t be able to fill Karla’s shoes, I promise I will do my absolute best for this community!

Let’s rock!
This is all you, #SQLFamily. You’re the heart and soul of PASS, just continue doing amazing things for your local communities and I will do what I can in this new role to support you. This is already the best community in the world, let’s make it even better in the next couple of years! :)

SQLHangout #38 – Career Transitions with Alexander Arvidsson

SQLHangout #38 – Career Transitions with Alexander ArvidssonThe recording of SQLHangout #38 is now available! In this SQLHangout, Alexander Arvidsson (@arcticdba) shares his advice on how to transition your career as the Microsoft Data Platform evolves. How do you go from being a DBA working with SQL Server internals to starting from scratch with new and evolving technologies like Power BI? It might not be as scary as you think!

SQLHangout #38 – Career Transitions with Alexander Arvidsson

 

Check out Alexander’s blog Home of the Arctic DBA and follow him on Twitter as @arcticdba. Are you attending PASS Summit 2016 or Microsoft TechDays Sweden 2016? Then make sure to say hi and attend his session – especially if you’re a Star Wars fan ;)

Past SQLHangouts

All the recorded videos are available in the YouTube playlist and on the SQLHangouts Facebook page.

Upcoming SQLHangouts

Do you want to participate in a SQLHangout some day? Let me know! :) If you don’t want to participate in a SQLHangout yourself, but you have an idea for a topic or speaker, use this form or tweet and use the #SQLHangout hashtag.

Upcoming SQLHangout with Alexander Arvidsson

This post is part 4 of 4 in the series SQLHangouts

SQLHangout with Alexander ArvidssonSave the date! The next SQLHangout with Alexander Arvidsson (@arcticdba) will be held on Monday, October 17th at 6pm CEST, and you can watch the event live on YouTube :D Can’t make it? Don’t worry! The recording will be made available on YouTube as soon as the event is over, and I will also publish it here afterwards.

SQLHangout with Alexander Arvidsson – Career Transitions: From SQL Server Internals to Azure and Power BI

In this episode, Alexander Arvidsson will talk about how his career is changing as the Microsoft Data Platform evolves. How do you go from being a DBA working with SQL Server internals to starting from scratch with new and evolving technologies like Power BI? It might not be as scary as you think!

SQLHangout with Alexander Arvidsson

Past SQLHangouts

All the recorded videos are available in the YouTube playlist and on the SQLHangouts Facebook page.

Upcoming SQLHangouts

Do you want to participate in a SQLHangout some day? Let me know! :) If you don’t want to participate in a SQLHangout yourself, but you have an idea for a topic or speaker, use this form or tweet and use the #SQLHangout hashtag.

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