Just Think of Them as Family


At SAS Global Forum this year, Clark Abrahams, Chief Financial Architect at SAS and author of Fair Lending Compliance and Credit Risk Assessment, offered me a piece of advice that I’m fairly certain is going to change my life. We were getting ready to begin the amazing book drawing for 25 books during the Monday night reception at SAS Global Forum. I had been invited to emcee the event, and just between you and me, being on stage is not one of my favorite things to do. Clark happened to walk by, and I mentioned to him that I was feeling a little nervous. Clark’s advice to me was to think about the audience as family. This image greatly eased my nerves and the show went on.

And, as I thought more about his comment, I realized that he was completely right.

As the Editor-in-Chief of SAS Press for almost 15 years, I’ve attended many SAS Global Forum meetings. My focus is always on the SAS Author “Family”—SAS Authors, SAS Users who love their books, and SAS users who want to become SAS Authors. When we gather at SAS Global Forum, we have a chance to reconnect, get the latest news, brainstorm new ideas, and offer lots of encouragement.

One of the highlights of the conference for us is the SAS Authors’ Dinner. Each year, over 40 of us gather at a local restaurant to enjoy a great meal, share lots of stories and laughter, reconnect with old friends, and welcome new ones. At this year’s dinner, we recognized the authors who were just joining the group for the first time. With no prompting, each new author was welcomed with a spontaneous round of applause from the other authors.

When we get together at conferences, I am amazed all over again by the sacrifices the authors make to support the SAS user community, to support the use of SAS and JMP, and to support each other. In addition to writing books, SAS Authors are also conference organizers and presenters. Their primary motivation in writing their books is to help another SAS user benefit from the knowledge that they have gained. (Well, some of them say that they write books so that they can be invited to the Authors' Dinners.) And, although they receive royalties on their books, they volunteer for so many other activities to support the SAS user community.

There are many wonderful moments at SAS Global Forum, and hearing the authors applaud one another is one that has really stayed with me.

Clark was right. It’s just like being with family. And, I’m looking forward to the next reunion!


About Author

Julie Platt

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  1. Paul Wooten on

    As an aspiring writer who can only dream of one day joining a dinner like this, I applaud from afar the enthusiastic greeting you give to new writers at the dinner...it must make them feel part of the group immediately! Well done.

  2. Keith Larson on

    If you have events like this, it will go a long way for the employees. If you treat them right, they will treat the company right!

  3. Kaarel Leib on

    I agree with Merle. It's really important to make the enviroment as comfortable as possible so you could enjoy it.

  4. Merle Baker on

    Speaking in public is always scary for everybody. I think even for experienced speakers it could be scary sometimes. This family analogy is a great way. Make it a comfortable experience and have fun with it.

  5. David Stamon on

    The family analogy is great! In the course of my work I address large groups quite often, at least weekly. I'd heard the "picture them naked," or "picture them sitting on the toilet" advice before. The idea behind those images, of course, is to help us remember that we're all just humans, so that our performance anxiety (which keeps us on our toes) doesn't turn into stage fright (which cripples us). But the family concept is so much better, because it's so true on more than one level, and it achieves the same purpose without being quite so crude. Although, I've seen the "naked" and "toilet" images help backstage by getting a laugh.

  6. Wilma Drake on

    Some of us just get thrown into public speaking and I guess we all hate it. I was taught long ago to use that nervous energy--to change it into positive energy and I'm able to do that somehow. It's never easy though. Family--I like it-Thx

  7. Nothing like getting together with fellow writer to share stories and have some dinner together. It seems to always be a kind of fellowship. Glad you had a good time!

  8. I think a little nervous excitement adds a bit of energy. I wouldn't enjoy presenting as much if I was totally relaxed. I do like the family analogy though.

  9. That is a good tip. I am always nervous when addressing a large group. I am interested to see if this tip works for me. Somehow, I suspect I will be just as nervous, but maybe, just maybe it will help. Thanks

  10. Bill @ Best-Exercises on

    That is a great way to calm down the jitters! I never thought of it that way. Funny thing is, you hear all sorts of kooky stuff (like imagine your audience naked - that NEVER works), but this is practical and I bet very effective.
    Thanks for the awesome tip!

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