Do you know how to start a conversation or how to join one? I usually wait for a pause and then blurt out whatever point I thought was missed, missing, or insufficiently covered. In other words, don’t come to me for advice. The fact of the matter is, while the legend of misanthropic, barely washed, hardly lucid, but frighteningly competent IT personnel is alive and strong, in reality, we need to speak to each other, our peers, and worse yet, the business people. Developing social skills is a must. Further, with the economy being what it is (and looks to be for some time to come) you probably need to put those social skills to work building up a network, people you can help and, hopefully never needed, can help you.
If you can’t get that kind of information from the Scary DBA (although why suggesting beating someone with a stout stick until they give up the full set of requirements is a bad plan doesn’t make much sense to me), then where should you go?
I am so glad you asked that question (yes, you asked it, or should I get the bigger stick). At the PASS Summit this year (and you’re going right?) a special pre-conference meeting will be taking place. Andy Warren is responsible for putting it together. He’s been working on his own communication & networking skills and blogging about them regularly. They guy he’s been working with, Don Gabor, will be hosting a special two-hour session, right before the opening night party, on improving your communication skills, specifically around conversations, starting them, working the room, etc. He says he can teach you to remember names, a particular weakness of mine. I usually just refer to people as “that admin guy”, “that developer, you know, the one with the weak SQL skills” or “the business guy who won’t give us all the requirements.” Actually I remember his name, it’s Pell. But I digress.
I’m pretty excited to be taking part in this session. If you’re attending the conference, which we’ve already established that you’re going to, you might want to try this session out too. It sure can’t hurt (unless you get teamed up with me) and it will probably help.