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#NewStarNovember – My first speaking engagement

A couple of months ago, June 2022 to be exact, I gave my very first session at DataGrillen. A couple of years ago, after attending a couple of conferences/ events, I knew I wanted to do something for the community.

At first, I wasn’t really thinking about becoming a public speaker, but more about contributing to events in the background. Back then, I knew a couple of people involved with the dataMinds user group. After assisting as a room monitor at dataMinds Connect 2019, I requested to join the dataMinds team as a core member. Since then, I’m trying to contribute to the community, at first by assisting with the organization of dataMinds Connect, and since 2022, also for the evening session throughout the year.

Since I wasn’t sure that I would have anything to share with the community as a speaker, I decided to talk with a couple of speakers at dataMinds Connect 2021. After I did, I convinced myself to get out of my comfort zone and submit my very first session to DataGrillen, where I was selected to present in the newcomer track.

I was preparing for my first session from January 2022 until June 2022, together with my amazing mentor (Rob Sewell), I was able to prepare myself to deliver my first session at DataGrillen 2022. Without the amazing way he mentored me, mentally and with useful tips & tricks, I wouldn’t have been able to deliver my session in the way I did.

In general, I was really happy about how I delivered my first session. At the beginning of the session, my nerves were affecting me since I tend to speak way too fast when I’m nervous. After a general introduction and going through the schedule, I took a quick look at my mentor who was supporting me during the presentation from the back of the room (as I suggested), and who was reminding me to slow down and enjoy delivering my session. Besides speaking too fast in the beginning, I started to enjoy delivering the session. Before I fully realized the session was over.

After the session, I received great feedback about the session and even some constructive feedback to improve my session as well.

Since my first speaking engagement went well and I enjoyed it a lot, I decided to submit my session to other events as well. After being rejected a couple of times, I can gladly tell you that I currently have 3 new speaking engagements planned in November 2022 and December 2022. (2 User Group sessions and 1 SQL Saturday)

During the past couple of years, I have seen a couple of new speakers present their first session, and one by one, smashing their first session. The most important reason why new speakers are important to support is that everyone has a unique story to tell, most of the time based on personal experience, A problem solved, a unique view on certain topics… Having a “stage” to share your thoughts/lessons learned is important as others might be benefitting from it. I often get ideas to overcome challenges or find alternative ways to do something by following sessions.


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