There are a relatively short 5 weeks for speaker submissions, which will close on July 23rd. So don’t delay! We plan on announcing selected speakers August 4th. As a reminder, the event is on October 7th.
We are looking for some unique contributions from the speaker community. In addition to 60-minute standard sessions, we’re hoping to offer one or more panel discussions, lightning talks for new speakers, and guided conversation over lunch. We also hope to host pre-cons on Friday, October 6th.
What could be better than hearing about technology from an expert in the field? Hearing about it from multiple experts! Seriously, though, more voices provide more perspectives, and varied cadence and tone keeps an audience engaged and learning. Plus Panels were the second-highest rated request in our SQLSaturday survey.
For our panel discussions, we’ll be accepting proposals from Panel Hosts who pick a topic, select questions, and gather participants. Your submission should include those details.
SQLSaturday events are explicitly directed to prefer local and new speakers, and we are embracing that mission. We’ve seen few new presenters at our local group meetings over the last few years, despite frequent encouragement for attendees to take the leap.
If you’ve never given a presentation in front of an audience, but you think you might want to try, contact us. We’ll help you through the process. We’ll point you to new speaker resources. And we’ll try to pair you with a mentor who can give more detailed advice and encouragement. When you’re ready, you can debut at a user group meeting or you can submit your Lightning Talk to SQLSaturday. (You can of course submit a regular session as well. Be sure to note that you are a new speaker.)
Veteran speakers, this is your chance to be a force multiplier. Every community member is a potential presenter. Seek out those you think might be interested and encourage them. We will help you help them. We have the stage; you can help us find the players. You will have our gratitude and recognition.
We also need a director– one or more Lightning Talk Hosts to organize lightning talk sessions, providing introductions and transitions between the talks.
We believe that a SQLSaturday event, more than just training, is about building connections within our community. You can learn online and from books, but you can only engage with fellow humans when we’re all gathered together. That only works, though, if we actually talk to each other.
We’ve been to some events with themed tables at lunch, and sometimes that works, but sometimes it doesn’t. Minnesotans have a reputation for being a little socially reserved, especially with newcomers, but we don’t want that to stop people from getting to know one another. So we’re looking for help. We’re hoping some expert conversationalists will volunteer to be Lunch Table Hosts. We want you to approach this seriously, but it’s not a traditional presentation. Your job is to get everyone else to talk– ideally to each other. Ask open-ended questions which encourage elaboration and discussion. We’ll advertise your table but don’t be afraid to wave people over.
For several years, we’ve hosted paid pre-conference sessions on the Friday before SQLSaturday. We’d like to do so again this year. At just over $100 in the past, they are typically the best value in SQL Server training aside from SQLSaturdays themselves. Unlike the shorter overviews of technology topics available on Saturday, the all-day Friday sessions allow a deep dive into a topic and sometimes involve hands-on practice.
Pre-conference speakers are offered a share of the session revenue, so if you are interested in presenting a Full Day Pre-Con, please submit your session abstract. Be sure to include enough detail for us to understand you have sufficient material. Please also provide references of other pre-cons you’ve given and/or other speaking engagements.
Remember that our audience varies from beginner to expert, and we accept talks at any level. Everyone is unique, so you certainly have something valuable to share. And though we focus on the Microsoft data platform, we’re open to any data-related topic. We also believe professional development talks are especially effective with an in-person setting.
We’re also aware that the technology industry has some diversity issues. We want to be welcoming and inclusive. We’ve adopted PASS’s SQLSaturday Anti-Harassment Policy as a first step. But we want to do more. We encourage members of underrepresented groups to consider speaking at and attending our conference. If there’s anything we can do to help you, let us know. If we’re making any mistakes, call us out. We’ll fix it.
Remember, we have a short submission timeline, but we’ve provided plenty of time for you to perfect your presentation after you’ve been selected. So click submit!
(Note that depending on the flexibility of the SQLSaturday scheduling system, selected participants might or might not be reflected directly on the schedule.)