I’m inspired by Brent Ozar‘s and Andy Leonard‘s sharing of their PASS feedback scores and comments. But first, I’m going to tell you how I think my PASS session went: I give it a C+. 118 people attended the session, and it ranked (by average score) 170th out of 185, so I feel that my assessment is in agreement with the attendees’. The good news: I have lots of feedback to improve myself and my session.
My session was T-SQL Brush-up: The Best Things You Forgot You Knew About SQL Code, which I’ve given at my hometown user group NTSSUG AND at 24HOP fall, where (brag alert!) it was the most well-attended session of the event. I’m pleased with that, and I’m very pleased that it was chosen for the PASS Summit lineup, but I still haven’t improved it as much as it needs. It’s a good session, but still growing; and I’m a decent speaker, but definitely still growing.
I had a couple of other strikes against me. First, I was nervous. I did reasonably well taking care of that, but it came out anyway in my classic tell: I spoke WAY too fast through my session, and the attendee comments reflect that.
I also unwittingly committed a cardinal sin of presenting: I spent a good deal of the previous day with somebody who knows a good deal more about what I’m presenting than I do: SQL author and MVP Adam Machanic (blog, Twitter). Now, we had a great time – Adam introduced me and Sean to sashimi, and we all walked around the Seattle pier market – but he contradicted something big that I had in my presentation. While that’s very very cool, I didn’t have the time to really wrap my head around it in the little free time I had before my time slot. Moral: If at all possible, hang out with SMEs well before, or just after your session. Or be right about everything.
Okay, enough leadup. Here are my scores:
How would you rate the usefulness of the information presented in your day-to-day environment?
Average: 3.89 [Hm...perhaps only 78% of attendees need midlevel T-SQL at work? No idea...]
How would you rate the Speaker’s presentation skills?
Average: 4.10 [That's a solid B, I'll take that and work on next time.]
How would you rate the Speaker’s knowledge of the subject?
1s: 6 [Ouch, baby.]
How would you rate the accuracy of the session title, description and experience level to the actual session?
How would you rate the amount of time allocated to cover the topic/session?
[This is interesting...this 3.67 was the killer on ratings, and the comments say that (a) they'd like to see more, (b) there wasn't enough time, and (c) I spoke to fast. I clearly need to rework this session to either be a two-parter, or contain less material. (I doubt people are clamoring for more topics at a shallower depth.) Very, very valuable information for me, and I'd like to thank everyone who submitted their comments and scores.]
How would you rate the quality of the presentation materials?
Average: 4.04 [Funny, the "presentation materials" were pure T-SQL code in SSMS. I guess that counts...]
I’m so glad I did this. I wasn’t pleased with how I did at PASS – thus the C+ – and it really knocked me off my horse for a few weeks, speaking-ego-wise. I’ve taken this time to recover, and the comments and this analysis came at the right time. Now I have clear direction for what I can do better in the coming year, and I know to have lunch with Adam at a minimum of two weeks before any given session.
Happy days, and thanks to all,