This evening I received my SQL Connection scores for the following presentations:
- Windows Internals for DB Pros
- From the Ramparts: Knowing What to Look for in SQL Server Security
Let's break down what the information provided told me.
There were 17 evaluations turned in. Of these, I must have really not connected with 1 person. With 17 evals, each eval counts for about 5.9%. And sure enough, there was 1 5.9% rating poor in several of the categories. My goal whenever I present is to give everyone who attends one of my sessions something they can use. So for at least 1 person, I didn't get the job done. Well, let's make that 5. There's a question asked, "I will able to use the information in this session" and then there are time frames. Four folks marked never. One didn't give a response. So of the 17 responses I got back, 12 said they could use the information (10 said immediately, which is good), but 5 didn't respond that they could.
This is a Windows internals presentation. A lot of it is deeper than what folks use in their day-to-day jobs. But I still need to cut a balance so that even though we're talking internals, everyone has a takeaway. I love this topic and the vast majority of folks (15 of 17) indicated that at least 50% of the material was new to them. Twelve people felt the technical level was just right. And 10 people felt they could use the information provided right away, with 2 more indicating they could use it within 3-6 months. So this is definitely a topic to keep working on, to keep refining, because it has value.
What else did I learn? I confirmed what I already suspected: my slides need more work (they are too busy and I need to find better images of some things) and some of my nerves came through, because my presentation skills score was lower than I usually get at other events (and what I received for the second session). With practice, my ability to present the material will come up to where my security presentations are at. And I need to go back and really pour over the slides.
One pet peeve: the only comment related to anything negative was, "The room was too cold!" I didn't connect with someone in the audience and I don't know how I can tailor the presentation to be useful to them the next time around because there were no comments left. For speakers who care about their craft, this is agonizing. We want to improve, to meet the needs of our audience, but we need feedback to do so.
I've given enough security presentations and specifically SQL Server security presentations that I'm at the point now where I arrange the slides based on the audience and update based on what changes there have been in the security landscape. I lived and breathed IT security for so long that I expect to present well on this topic. Not only that, but because of several initiatives at work, I've had to don my security architect hat several times in the last six months, even though I'm in a development DBA role now. So I was fresh and ready to talk about security. And it showed. There were 10 evaluations and all scores were either 3.7 or 3.8 out of 4.
When I gave this talk, the first thing I did was query how many were DBAs, how many were primarily system administrators, and how many were developers. We were heavy on the operational DBA and system administrator side, which is what I figured would be the case. With that said, 9 out of 10 of the evals indicated that at least 50% of the material was new to them. But what felt good was every eval said I nailed the technical level and of those, 9 out of 10 said they could use the information I gave immediately, with 1 indicating it would be useful in 7-12 months (potential job changer, I bet).
One thing that was asked for was more demos. I can include more, and will next time. I typically do more, but with the heavy sysadmin audience and the lack of a full environment at my disposal, I knew I couldn't show some of the things properly, so I only did a couple of real small demos. With my new MacBook Pro, I should be able to run multiple VMs, including a full fledged AD environment, and that will permit more demos in the future.