I’m one of the organisers of SQL Relay and I’m always looking for new speakers. There aren’t enough new people speaking at community events and that’s sad. It doesn’t promote fresh ideas and thinking.
On Wednesday evening last week I was thinking about this and I was feeling generous so I casually made an offer on Twitter as I left my house to board a train to Brussels. Over the course of the next few hours it became (I think) my most retweeted tweet to date.
So that was pretty nice.
So you want to do a talk at a conference but you’ve never done it before and you are nervous or want some help?
This is me offering you my time to help. No charge, just honest goodwill.
Just reply to this tweet or DM me privately and let’s get started.
Feel free to RT.
— Alex Yates (@_AlexYates_) January 24, 2018
During my journey through the tunnel a few people took me up on the offer. I’ve had some lovely conversations over Skype and IM with some folks who want to start speaking. So that was really nice.
The people who took me up on the offer were a much more diverse crowd than the usual speaker line-ups of 30 year old, white, male consultants. (Myself included). So that’s very encouraging.
And there were also a bunch of awesome folks who echoed my offer… Which got David thinking:
I’ll echo Alex…I’m here to help as well!! https://t.co/pqBQ18M5qv
— DBA With A Bat (@SqlrUs) January 25, 2018
I will also mentor. You can do this. https://t.co/gZvLDnstQ3
— That Awesome Trainer (@John_Deardurff) January 25, 2018
I’m also willing to help https://t.co/9cXv6ErEBl
— Nate Taylor (@taylonr) January 25, 2018
@_AlexYates_ we should start a speaker mentor group!
— David Neal (@reverentgeek) January 25, 2018
When I saw David’s tweet I was just stepping out of my AirBnb in Brussels. By this point it’s Thursday evening and I’ve just finished my first day at a new customer who had some complicated problems. I was tired and hungry so I was heading out to find some Moules Frites and beer… But I stopped in my tracks. I went back indoors, turned my laptop back on and spun up a website:
(I eventually got to sit down with my white wine mussels at about 9pm. They were very nice.)
Mussles in Brussels. pic.twitter.com/iex23kkd3o
— Alex Yates (@_AlexYates_) January 25, 2018
Since that evening a growing group of us have been refining the site. It’s not perfect. It still has plenty of rough edges, but it does the job.
If you are an experienced speaker and are willing to give your time to mentor new speakers please get in touch and we’ll add you to the site. The more speakers we get the less overhead for all of us and the more diverse our group of mentors the more likely it will be that a new speaker will find the right person to help them.
Seeking new speakers!
And if you would like to try your hand at speaking but want a bit of support, this community is full of wonderful people who are willing to spend their time to help you succeed for no greater reward than the satisfaction of helping another human being.
Spread the word!
And maybe you don’t want to speak at conferences and you don’t want to be a mentor. That’s cool. But if you know someone who could use some support with their first few sessions or if you know someone who would be an awesome mentor, why don’t you send them the link?
Let’s create a safe place for new speakers to find help and guidance.
The whole experience has left me smiling. 🙂