Well, I finally got the feedback from my SQL Audit presentation last month, and I’m very pleased. Ok, more than pleased, I’m downright ecstatic. Overall the feedback was great, but there was also some really helpful constructive criticism. There were 29 attendees for my session, which was a fairly good turnout. No very poor or poor marks in the feedback, so: yay!
Here’s a breakdown of the feedback questions.
1) How would you rate the usefulness of the session information in your day-to-day environment?
I expected the mixed results for this question. We have a lot of developers in our group and this presentation was pretty DBA-centric.
2) How would you rate the Speaker’s presentation skills?
Wow! That’s awesome! I was so nervous (not as nervous as during my work presentation, but still…). I really tried to incorporate humor into the session, which I think helped a lot. I’m a very shy person at heart, I don’t like being the center of attention. But I do believe I have a natural sense of humor that came out a bit in this presentation and definitely made me more comfortable.
3) How would you rate the Speaker’s knowledge of the subject?
I worked very hard on this presentation; researching, testing, rehearsing. I tried to predict the kinds of questions people would ask, so I wouldn’t be caught off-guard. Looks like it paid off.
4) How would you rate the accuracy of the session title, description, and experience level to the actual session?
No real surprise here. The initial title was very…dry. Very straightforward. I changed it in the final week before the actual presentation, when I latched onto the whole Holy Grail thing. But even then I think it was still a very accurate title.
5) How would you rate the amount of time allocated to cover the topic/session?
It’s funny, I rehearsed and rehearsed. I gave the presentation to my family. It averaged about an hour. But for some reason, when I gave it at the user group, it ended up more like 45 minutes. I don’t think I talked fast, either. So obviously I need to fatten it up before I submit it to a SQL Saturday or the like. Not a problem, I have some ideas.
6) How would you rate the quality of the presentation materials?
Honestly, I’m a bit surprised here. I think overall, it was aesthetically interesting and fun. I kept with the Holy Grail theme. But there were definitely some slides that were too hard to see. That was the biggest complaint in the comments, as you’ll see. So I need to work on that, too, for next time. Fair enough.
So, as you can see, I have plenty to be happy about, numbers-wise. I also got some great comments:
“One of the best presentations I have been to. Perfect level of detail.”
“Very well prepared. Great job.”
“I didn’t know you could do this. Very informative.”
“Excellent topic. Made me think of other ways i can use extended events and service broker. Thanks!”
The last two are especially meaningful. I taught someone; that’s huge.
I also got some constructive criticisms, which I truly appreciate:
“Screen shots/code was hard to read, too small”
“No third party solutions covered?”
“Need to project voice a little more (hard to hear at times)”
Yeah, I agree about the screen shots. For some reason I was sure they’d be big enough on the screen, but apparently not. And the voice projection: noted. The third party solutions thing, this threw me for a loop. Someone asked about third party solutions at the end of the session, and I was caught completely off-guard. In all the prep I did, in fact in all the years of working with DDL auditing, the option of a third-party solution never even occurred to me. I’ve always been of the mind that if you can make do with built-in solutions, why look elsewhere? But, again, noted. I plan on researching third party solutions to flesh out the presentation.
So there you have it. Full disclosure. My first presentations are now behind me, my confidence is up, and I know what I have to do for next time. So, back to work!