4 reasons to subscribe for Speaker Idol at PASS Summit 2015

Last year, Denny Cherry (blog | twitter) organized for the first time a speaker idol at Pass Summit. And guess what, I won the contest last year and I’m really happy that I can present for the first time at the event.

This year, it might be your lucky day because Denny organizes the speaker idol again!

Let me give you 4 good reasons why you should subscribe for the contest and take your shot!

Learn

I’ve learned a lot during the contest. You have to present in front of a jury of “senior” and talented speakers like Tim Ford, Jason Strate, Kalen Lopez, Grant Fritchey, Joey d’Antoni, …
You only get 5 minutes to present so it’s really short. Don’t give an introduction of 2 minutes for example because those 5 minutes are over before you know it. Don’t go over the 5 minutes because you really have to stop. So, even if this a really short presentation, take your time to prepare good slides and rehearse it!
The jury will give you good tips and remarks on what was good and what you could do better. Listen to them and take their advice! If you should go to the next round, make sure that you use that advice.
Also listen to the other candidates and listen to the tips of the jury. You might have some new ideas and make your presentation even better!

You can win!

Last year I submitted 5 sessions for the event but none of them were selected…
I was going to the event anyway, so I thought, why not participate in the speaker idol. I had nothing to lose.
To my surprise, I won the contest. And yes, you can also win! Believe in yourself and give the best you can during 5 minutes.

This year, the prize is again a speaker slot for next year’s event! Imagine that you are the only person that is already 100% sure that you will speak on PASS Summit 2016! It’s a really good feeling believe me J. But on the other hand, it can make you nervous because you have a whole year to think of a good session.

Meet new people

On PASS Summit, you meet new people every day, but on the speakers idol, you meet your fellow contestants.
They are also nervous like you are J and it’s nice to see who those people are and what their experience is. It’s always nice again when you meet some of them again on other SQL Events.
During the finals, there were a lot of people in the room, which was really cool. People were interested in the contest and I expect more audience in the room this year.

It’s fun!

Believe me, it’s really fun to do. Last year, it was my first summit experience and it was all kind of new to me.
You feel the tension in the room, but on the other hand, you laugh a lot J

Well, I hope to see you all in my session and don’t forget “take your shot, you have nothing to lose!”

PASS Summit My First Time

Only 2 weeks left until PASS Summit and believe it or not, it will be my first time at PASS Summit.
I was rewarded last year as an MVP for the first time and the MVP Summit is just prior to the PASS Summit event. This is an ideal combination and makes it affordable for me to go to Seattle and combine the 2 events!

I’m really looking forward to PASS Summit. Don’t know really what to expect so I read already some good blog posts that explain a lot for the first-timers.

The web site of Summit also has a really good explanation for the first-timers and Denny Cherry recorded a webinar where he explains how to get to Seattle, what you can do as a Tourist, the Convention Center,… PASS is also organizing a “First Timer’s Orientation Meeting & Speed Networking” that will bring the first-timers up to speed. I will attend that meeting for sure 😉

What I definitely know is that I will meet again a lot of people of the SQL Server Community that I have met before when I was speaking on SQL Saturdays and on SQL Server Days in Belgium. Will be fun, believe me!

I’m member of the SQLUG in Belgium and each year we’re organizing SQL Server Days, the biggest SQL event of the BeNeLux. This year, it was already our 7th edition which was a great success.
Although we had really good feedback of our speakers and attendees, you always want to push your event to a higher level. So I will keep my eyes and ears wide open during these 3 days and I’m sure I will have some great new ideas that we can use on SQL Server Days next year.

This year I’ve also started submitting sessions for SQL Saturday’s in Europe. I got selected to speak at Slovenia, Exeter, Oslo, Holland and I even did my first pre-con on SQL Server Days.
I’ve also submitted my sessions for PASS Summit. It would have been great to speak at “the Rock Werchter” of all SQL Events but unfortunately, none of my sessions got selected…

No worries, I got really good feedback from PASS so maybe I’ll be selected next year…

But…then… Mr. Denny announced his Speaker Idol Competition. Let me quote Denny what this contest is all about:

“The goal behind the Speaker Idol competition is to give speakers who are known in their region a chance to be seen at the international level so that they can improve their chances of being selected to speak in future years, to get some real time feedback from other speakers about their presentation style, and so that they can improve as speakers.”

THAT’S ME! I didn’t hesitate and registered for the competition. And guess what… I’m one of the 12 contestants! I really appreciate this opportunity. I’m speaking (for 5 minutes) on Wednesday, so let’s hope I can convince the “jury” and win the contest. Wish me luck J !

I’ve heard that there are also a lot of other activities during the evenings and night like a SQL Long Run, SQL Karaoke, Kilt Thursday … More info can be found on http://www.sqlpass.org/summit/2014/Connect/AfterHours.aspx

I’m definitely going to the SQL karaoke! Not that I’m a really good singer but sounds like fun J!

Well… let my US adventure begin and see you all within 2 weeks in Seattle at PASS SUMMIT 2014!

Pieter