Early 2015 I submitted one of my favorite sessions, "Execution Plans for Mere Mortals", that I present at SQL Saturdays. At that time I had presented it 3 times so I had a jump start on what to expect. This is a session for beginners to give them a jump start on how to read and understand what is important about graphical execution plans.
I've read through Grant Fritchey's book, SQL Server Execution Plans, Second Edition
and Benjamin Nevarez's book Inside the SQL Server Query Optimizer, multiple times. I had to crack out the books to make sure I worded everything correctly and didn't miss anything important.
Both of these books are phenomenal reads, and are valuable resources for reading execution plans.
Grant, in the photo on the right, responds to me saying "my execution plans session is better than yours". Just Kidding.
I presented "Execution Plans for Mere Mortals" eight times before I was to present at PASS Summit 2015, from January 17th, 2015 to October 24th, 2015. I was able to fine tune and improve every time I presented, even improving it the day I was to present at Summit 2015, Friday, October 30th at 3:30 PM.
My only fear was my time slot and location. My room was in The Conference Center (TCC)... I call it the annex, because it was so far from the main conference hall. I was presenting the last day and the last session of the day. Certainly everyone is going to be gone by this time? I'm betting on only a handful of attendees for my session.
Boy was I pleasantly surprised when people started pouring in 15 minutes prior to my start time and kept coming until minutes after I started. Even more surprising was when Hugo Kornelis came in and sat in the front row. Hugo is well know for his knowledge about SQL Server internals especially execution plans. Although this made me a little apprehensive, it also was a great opportunity to get expert feedback. I stopped counting attendees close to 60... so off to a great start!
My presentation can be found here -> "Execution Plans for Mere Mortals"
Having a microphone attached to my body was a little disconcerting due to how loud it was so I had the crew adjust the microphone. It worked well to get some laughs.
The presentation went fairly smoothly, some very good questions were asked as I was presenting, and there were a few I had to think about, always scary. I had a lot of attendee participation which was exciting. My timing was really good as I finished right on time, kudos to PowerPoint's time tracking.
As it wrapped up, I had a line in front of the podium wanting business cards and Pluralsight cards, gave away half of my box of Linchpin People business cards... too awesome.
All in all, lessons learned, don't worry about location and time, people will show up if the topic is an excellent topic. Make sure you get plenty of rest (I did). Remember to restate the question being asked so everyone hears it (or get a microphone for the crowd. Ask a friend to take pictures ... I don't have any good photos of my speaking at Summit. :(
I have more work based upon some feedback from Hugo, and I'm planning on putting together an advanced session on Execution Plans.