After spending much of the last two days reading through over 200 SQL Saturday Event Evaluations I have come up with a list of GREAT list of suggestions from many of our attendees. Here we go:
1. Minimize the time between sessions. We allowed fifteen minutes between each session. I did notice that at times people were just standing around waiting for sessions to start. I thought this would be a good time to mix and mingle, chat with sponsors and speakers. However at least 45 people agreed that that time could have been spent as an additional session. Possibly repeating some of the more popular sessions at the end of the day.
2. I was asked several times, who is that speaker, where is he from, who does he work for. Basically the attendees really wanted speaker BIOs. I didn’t think that this was important during the planning of our event. After talking with so many people about each presenter and reading several evaluations asking for BIOs, I have decided that a BIO page will be added to each packet next year. I usually provide a brief introduction of myself before I present, but lately I just kind of make that very abbreviated.
3. One thing that surprised me was the number of request for novice sessions. I think we as technology professionals, especially those of us that have been doing it for many years, assume people understand and know things. This is not true. I was asked by one individual that worked the Help Desk for his company, “What does SQL stand for”. He actually knew what it meant, but his point was that we need a SQL 101 to bring people that aren’t developers and DBAs up to speed.
4. At every event there are typically three event levels, Beginner, Intermediate, and Advance. I made the mistake of scheduling several Beginner sessions in the same time slot. Pay close attention to the event level when building your schedule. You should also pay close attention that the presenter has correctly categorized the event in the correct level.
5. This suggestion may seem a little mundane and some of you may even say that those people were just being picky, but I actually thought this myself after I received my badge. Several of the participants at our event commented that we needed LARGER FONT SIZES on our badges, and I cannot disagree. I like to use a persons’ name when I am talking. I found myself squinting to read the name badges.
This is a very short list of the comments and suggestions that we were able to collect from event evaluations. I am not quite complete (stay tuned for more), but I have to send out an email about my talk coming up next week at our user group “Near Real-time Data Warehousing”. Not sure how many will be in attendance, but if there is only 5 people there it will be worth it to me. I will talk to you more about it tomorrow.
Talk soon Patrick LeBlanc,
SQL Down South.