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Have you been in a presentation with the feeling that the speaker is talking over your head? As if he is speaking to a select group, maybe trying to impress them? The selection of words and expressions, subject for the talk may sometimes give a feeling of cleverness, yet you can’t relate to it. Instead you walk away thinking you are not remotely smart enough to give a presentation.

That is too bad. Though we are supposed to be originals, our projects and environments mean that statistically speaking there are quite a few in your situation, and perhaps with your thinking. If all of your group have the same feeling; that your are too inexperienced, or concerned with trivial issues, noone is going to give talks you can relate to. Maybe you should give that presentation?

I have a DBA background, but for the last years I have mostly been working in projects where I support developers. Looking for stuff that won’t work well with the database, and helping people to use the database better are my top priorities. (I don’t succeed all the time, far from it, but it seem to work.) I keep getting back to basic stuff; focusing on response time on several levels, let the database to do what it does better than a new application, and so on. There is nothing wrong with getting the basics right, and it usually saves you from a lot of frustration later.

Another example is data modelling. It is strange how many projects where nobody sat down to create a simple model before they started to create tables. What it tells me is that they didn’t spend time to think it through before they started the implementation. These issues happens in the zone where developers and administrators (like DBAs) interact. It sometimes looks like an abyss, or perhaps a DMZ.

If you have any experience from projects, where you discovered a method, or a tool, or a solution that moved the project forward, you should start writing it down and eventually you will have material to present to your group.

Speaking for the first time at a conference may sound like a nightmare or a suicidal act. But it doesn’t have to be. Fact is that speaking at the UKOUG Tech conference has been for me a great experience. The audience has always been nice and I always meet someone who has been in a similar situation.

Giving a presentation together with someone is one option, if you reach out to the Oracle community it is likely that you will get a positive answer. If you ask me, I don’t mind being the clown in the outfit.

One rule matters: talk about something you care about, something that you believe in. The rest is just work. The call for paper closes soon, submit your proposal here: http://tech17.ukoug.org/default.asp?p=16612.