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The Voice of the DBA

Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest

SQL Saturday Advice - Communicate Often

It seems that Thursdays are becoming SQL Saturday day here at my blog. I wrote a few posts about SQL Saturday recently after attending SQL Saturday #22, and have been scheduling them out. Since the first two were on Thursday, I decided to keep this moving forward. The previous posts in this mini-series are:

People Don’t Read

I was talking with one of the leaders of an upcoming SQL Saturday about one of his emails. There was nothing wrong with the email, but it didn’t include some information about a speaker change and a few other things. When I asked this person why he’d left it out, he said it was “to build some excitement.”
Huh?
While SQL Saturday is exciting to many of us, it’s not the all-consuming passion of many people. There are plenty of people that see a SQL Saturday as no more exciting than this:
denversql
Not that the Denver SQL Server User group isn’t exciting, but it’s not necessarily something that drives hundreds of DBAs in the area to attend each month.
As a result, most people that get notifications like this don’t really read them. If you registered for SQL Saturday, and you get an email, I bet half of you do what I do:
  • skim lightly over the content
  • double check the date/time
  • think if I still want to attend or if there’s something better
  • move on with life.
Of all the SQL Saturday’s I’ve attended, and of all the times I’ve gotten some reminder, I’ve typically ignored half of them. I might check my calendar or think about if I’ve done all the stuff I need to do, but I don’t often re-read each email.
I do read a couple, which is what most people do. So don’t hold things back, send a good list of things every time. Move things around, make it interesting, but don’t assume anyone other than you is reading every email.

Touching people often

Hopefully none of you read that title in a bad way. If you do, shame on you, and probably me, for using a catchy sub-heading.
There’s a reason that car companies and beer companies, and other companies use the same commercial over and over, often during the same program. It’s because people will remember what they see often, and because some percentage of the audience will miss one or more showings of the commercial.
I think that Karla Landrum did a fantastic job of sending emails regularly to remind people, present information, repeat things, and just build some excitement around SQL Saturday #22. I think that more SQL Saturday organizers should do the same thing, and that we need to get a list of which emails to send, and when. There are some different ones, like for volunteers and speakers, so it helps to have a schedule set.
But include relevant information about the event to each group, and try to touch them once a week or so. Change your subject, change the first line or paragraph around, ask for referrals, but touch people often.

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