Attack of the Speaker Feedback – #SQLSat160

I did my first technical presentation in Kalamazoo MI this past weekend.  I had a really engaged group of people, there was much discussion, and a lot of really good questions. I was even able to answer some of them!

In short –  I loved it. Hats off to the volunteers, organizers, speakers and vendors that made this event so much fun.

The best part about speaking at a SQL Saturday is you get immediate feedback on how you did.  I may have to incorporate this into some of my other speaking endeavors.  Here’s how the numbers worked out:

Numeric Scores: 5s = 12. 4s = 4. 3s = 1.  No 2s or 1s. (Yay!)

Exceeded Expectations: 10, Met Expectations: 7, Did Not Meet Expectations: 0.  (Again, Yay!)

Here’s a few of the written comments I received, that I felt merited a response. Oddly enough, the person who left me a three didn’t mention why. That’s a comment I would like to have heard.

“Would love to see some more automation.” – Me too. I have some plans in the works for a follow-up session to this that deals strictly with different ways to automate maintenance tasks.

“If you go that fast, you need slides with keywords. It’s impossible to take any notes.” – Fair enough. I am used to the Takahashi / Lessig style presentations for my other subject matter, which is more abstract than hands-on database maintenance. I didn’t want to completely switch up for my first SQL presentation. I can work on making my slides easier to follow for technical topics. However, you can also download the slide deck and example code from the SQL Saturday website, which contains all my notes. So there’s that, as well.

“I like the way you answered questions quickly; especially when you politely redirected the question that was too specific to that person’s situation.” – Sometimes people come to training because they have a specific issue that they want to address. I totally get that, and I do it too. I hate leaving people hanging, even though you can’t really spend a whole session just troubleshooting issues. I’m always open to email, so if you were at my session, and did have a question for me that I couldn’t or didn’t answer, please feel free to contact me.  Bonus literary cool points for the use of the semi-colon on your feedback form, too. :-)

“Made admin tasks seem not so scary.” This made me really happy. I’m glad I was able to make things look a little less so. To me they’re not, but sometimes we forget that what seems easy to us, is not so for others. I aim to change that when it comes to DB Admin tasks.

A couple of other observations:  I didn’t know for sure if there would be much interest in basics like this at SQL Saturday, where most people present on more detailed or more of the gee-whiz features. Boy, was I wrong. Just about every seat was in use, and I got over 20 feedback forms, so I guess this was a good idea after all. I was also concerned that I might be preaching to the choir, so to speak, but my session was almost all developers and other non-DBAs, which shows that we’re providing some value to people outside the DBA world. Getting those conversations going motivates me, and I hope it motivates you as well.

I think I’ll do this again, though self-imposed travel restrictions dictate that I keep it within driving distance. Nothing on the horizon yet, but when the next speaking gig comes up, you’ll be the first to know. (Well, after the organizers and my wife, of course.)

Thanks for reading.

-David.

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