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SQL Saturday Advice – Feedback and Raffles

At SQL Saturday #28, I was surprised to be given the speaker evaluations after my first session. One of the volunteers approached me and gave them to me, saying that I could have them and use them.

That surprises me since I think one of the things that people rarely do is give good feedback to speakers. Too often we design these nice forms and someone just gives all 4s or 5s. They just don’t think about it much.

I favor a simple feedback form, but I’d also include a raffle prize or two that can incent people to turn them in. I know it’s a pain to sort them out by speaker, but I think a simple session name/title, a ranking (1-3 or 1-5) and a comment would be nice.

Then draw some at the end of the day and give prizes. I suspect we’ll get more, though not necessarily better, feedback.

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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


Posted by Jack Corbett on 19 August 2010

I really like the way that they did that in Atlanta.  They had a couple of books in each session that they raffled off at the end of the session by the speaker.  The biggest drawback is that it limits time for attendees to fill out the forms.  But I got an eval from every attendee and that's rare.

Posted by Steve Jones on 19 August 2010

I think we need a better feedback system. I like the idea of some text messaging system since most people have cell phones.

Posted by Andy Warren on 19 August 2010

I've seen them collected and not, I definitely prefer that the event leader collect them, review. They need the insight on how things went. I'm in favor of the cell phone plan too.

Posted by Tim Mitchell on 22 August 2010

We had discussed using a text messaging option in Dallas in May, but by the time we started heading down that road it was too late to implement.  There's really no surefire way to collect feedback, short of providing a hardware solution (think Congressional chamber voting devices).  I like the idea of SpeakerRate, but it's nearly impossible to get people to submit feedback afterward and oddly enough, most people don't bring their laptops.  Text messages are probably the least common denominator.

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