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    Copyright © Nancy Hidy Wilson, 2010-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nancy Hidy Wilson and nancyhidywilson.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

SQLSaturday #423 Baton Rouge – I am Speaking

I’m honored to be presenting again at SQLSaturday Baton Rouge on August 1, 2015. My topic is “Managing SQL Server in the Enterprise with TLAs”. What are TLAs, you ask? Why Three-Letter-Acronyms, of course! The TLAs which I will be discussing that you should be utilizing are CMS, PBM, and EPM. Come to my session in Room 1220 at 12:15pm and find out how using these features will improve your productivity!

If you are involved in almost any kind of IT work within driving distance of Baton Rouge, you should consider attending this free day of learning. Although using the SQLSaturday branding, there are more topics to be covered than just SQL Server. In addition to the traditional SQL Server AppDev, DBA, and BI tracks, there are tracks for .NET developers, SharePoint, Web/Mobile Development, Windows Server & Virtualization, Career Development, IT Managers, and more!

Check out the entire schedule, including low-priced Pre-con sessions on Friday, and register today to join more than 600 IT workers taking advantage of this free training!

If you can’t attend this event, then check here for all the currently scheduled SQLSaturdays in the US and around the world! There is likely one occurring near you soon!

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Speaker Submissions for SQLSaturday #308 Houston Still Open!

Speaker submissions for SQLSaturday #308 Houston on May 10th are still open, but you only have until next Friday, March 21, to apply!  As of 5:30pm CDT on March 14, we have 33 distinct speakers who have submitted, but we will be selecting 50-60 sessions!  Thus, there is still plenty of opportunity to submit with a high probability of having your session selected.  However, be sure to check out what others have already submitted (under Submitted Sessions) and come up with your niche topic!  So, write up that abstract this weekend and apply

SQLSaturday #150 – Baton Rouge: Presentations Uploaded

My presentation slide decks and demo scripts from SQLSaturday #150 have been uploaded.

Thanks to the planning team for selecting my sessions and thanks to everyone who attended my sessions – I enjoyed the opportunity to share my passion.   

SQLSaturday #150 – Baton Rouge – Signup Now!

There’s an awesome FREE technical training event coming to Baton Rouge on August 4, 2012. That’s right; SQLSaturday and Tech Day 2012 will be held at LSU’s new College of Business facility.  This is the fourth year that the Baton Rouge technical community has held this event and they expect around 400 people – if you live anywhere close by, then you should be there!  William Assaf (blog | twitter) even got some local TV exposure for the event this year.  

This event is bigger than your normal SQLSaturday. In addition to tracks for the SQL Server professional, there are also tracks for .NET developers, Windows Phone developers, SharePoint, and general professional development. Check out the full schedule here, and then sign up here.

Why am I plugging this event? Well, for one thing the Baton Rouge SQL Server community has always come west across the state line to support our SQLSaturdays in Houston. Secondly, I’ll be speaking at their event this year on “Managing SQL Server in the Enteprise with TLAs”.  TLA is “Three-Letter Acronym” for those unsure. We have lots of those in techno-speak. I’ll be covering CMS, PBM, EPM, MDW, and more…. If you work with SQL Server and don’t know what those are or how they can help you, then register today for SQLSaturday #150 and come to my session at 8:20am in Room 1700! 

Addendum: I’ll now also be presenting a second session “SQL Server 2012 Database Engine – Why Upgrade?” in the 2:45pm slot in Room 1700.

 

If you can’t attend this event, then check here for all the currently scheduled SQLSaturdays in the US and around the world! 

 

I’m Speaking at SQLSaturday #150 in Baton Rouge

I will be presenting my “Managing SQL Server in the Enterprise with TLAs” session at SQLSaturday #150 in Baton Rouge on August 4th! 

However, this is more than just a regular SQLSaturday, as this is a “SQL Saturday & TECH Day” and is presented by the Baton Rouge Chapter of the Professional Association for SQL Server along with the Baton Rouge .NET User Group and Baton Rouge IT Pros User Group.

Therefore the sessions offered will cover the gamut from SQL Server DBA, Business Intelligence, and SQL Development tracks to SharePoint to .NET Development to Windows Phone to Career Development.

Check out the complete schedule here and sign up today for this FREE training event!

See you there!

 

Improving Speaker Rating Evaluations

I finished compiling all the individual session speaker ratings from SQLSaturday #107 held in Houston on April 21, 2012 and sent the results to the speakers this past weekend.  We used the default form provided on the SQLSaturday Admin site, which had two basic inputs.

1) Expectations:  Did Not Meet \ Met \ Exceeded. 

2) Overall Quality of the Presentation: rate 1-5 where 5=great.

Plus there was a request to write any other comments on the back of the form.  A few people did provide some constructive criticism which the speakers can use to improve; many people provided positive encouragement; but most wrote nothing.

Anybody have a problem with this form?  I do; and I’d like to make it more useful for both organizers and speakers.  But, how?

We’ve been conditioned since early childhood in school to receive a grade for our performance. Consequently, we tend to provide evaluations with number ratings so that we can come up with an average rating for each speaker.  The problem with this type of rating for speakers, in my opinion, is that there are no defined criteria for the students (e.g. graders) to use in their evaluation – it is purely subjective and purely based on the individual’s experiences which could vary wildly at an event like SQLSaturday.     

The “Expectations” rating to me is really not very useful – it is too general.  There are two things that I, personally, am gauging from an “expectations” basis when I attend a session: 1) the content to be delivered based on the abstract provided; 2) the quality of the speaker based on the presenter’s professional credentials.  However, what if I’m so new to a topic area that I really do not comprehend what the abstract means (although I think I do) and therefore my expectations of what I’m about to experience are very different than the reality?  Or, what if I have really high expectations of a well-known speaker and I feel like their presentation is just average? How do I handle this in my evaluation? Based on what I saw in our SQLSaturday evaluations, it seems to me that most people whose expectations were not met also rated the overall quality of the presentation low.  But, how can that be, when the majority of the other attendees at the same session believed that the session met or exceeded their expectations and gave a high rating on the overall quality?  I saw this anomaly several times.

One of the goals of SQLSaturday is to grow the speaker base. I don’t know about you, but “grow” to me doesn’t mean just numbers, it means providing experience and maturity. How do we get the necessary feedback to the speakers to enable them to improve their presentation skills in order to better train us?

Speakers, what input would you like from your audience?  If you were to redesign this simple evaluation form, what 2 or 3 questions would you ask? Do you derive value from a subjective numeric rating?

SQLSaturday organizers and User Group leaders, how would you like to see speakers evaluated to help you in selecting sessions for your next event?

Please post your comments here.

SQLSaturday #97 – It’s a Wrap!

On Saturday, October 1, 2011, CACTUSS – The Capitol Area Central Texas Users of SQL Server – hosted their first SQLSaturday in Austin.  CACTUSS is led by my good friend and fellow PASS Chapter Leader, Wes Brown (twitter | blog). Saturday was a big day for Wes. In addition to pulling off a successful SQLSaturday event – Wes was finally named a SQL Server MVP by Microsoft on Saturday as well. In view of Wes’s many years of contribution to the SQL Server community many of us were shocked to realize that he had not previously received this well-deserved designation. So there was much to celebrate at the end of the day.

A big thank-you goes to the key volunteers on the SQLSaturday #97 team – AJ Mendo (twitter), Jim Murphy (twitter | blog), Richard Heim, Mike Byrd, and Amy Muehleman. Another big thanks goes to the sponsoring vendors and especially to Idera for providing not only Platinum level funding, but manpower too!

The SQLSaturday #97 team did a really good job of focusing on one of the original key tenets of SQLSaturday – providing opportunities to grow new, local speakers. Of the 5 sessions I attended, 3 were presented by “new” speakers – AJ Mendo, Rudy Rodarte (twitter | blog), and Jim Murphy (all from Austin). All three did a really good job and I hope they continue to get opportunities to share their passion for SQL Server with the community. There were other new speakers as well, plus some of the “usual suspects” and high profile speakers like Jennifer and Sean McCown (aka the Midnight DBAs), Thomas LaRock (aka SQLRockstar), Conor Cunningham (from the Microsoft SQL Server Dev team), and, of course, being in Austin – Joe Celko.  From what I heard, the overall program selection and speaker ratings were a hit with the 200+ attendees.

While I didn’t get everyone’s story, I did visit at length with another new speaker at the networking after event held at Iron Works BBQ. Steven Ormrod (twitter | blog) is an excellent example of what SQLSaturday is all about. With this conference, Steven completed the 2011 Texas SQLSaturday Trifecta. It started with his attending PASS Summit in November 2010 and learning about the SQLSaturday concept. He attended SQLSaturday #57 in Houston in January; followed that up in April by attending and volunteering for SQLSaturday #63 in Dallas; then he took the big plunge and submitted to speak at SQLSaturday #97 in his current hometown of Austin. While I did not witness his presentation, I did hear the praise he received from a couple of folks sitting with us as they rehashed his session.

So, it appears that the two main tenets of SQLSaturday (providing free training and growing local speakers) were definitely accomplished by the organizers of SQLSaturday #97.  Well done!

For those who are looking for session slides for my presentation “Managing SQL Server in the Enterprise with TLAs”, they are available on the SQLSaturday #97 Schedule session link here. Thanks to all who attended my session and for being an engaged audience with my topic. I enjoyed sharing my passion for SQL Server with you.

And, finally, before you start asking – yes, we will have a SQLSaturday in Houston in 2012 – hopefully, we’ll be announcing a date very soon.