This is my contribution to this month’s T-SQL Tuesday, this time hosted by Andy Yun. I was sitting calmly in a session at PASS Summit 2016 listening with only one ear. I was using only one ear as I was busy contemplating the many ways the speaker’s presentation skills could be improved. Teaching and presentation skills go hand in hand, but there are several examples of speakers having one but not the other - the result is predictably somewhat lacking. The more events I attend I can conclude that presenters generally know their technical content VERY well (most often to a downright scary degree) but many can improve on both their presentation design and their presentation skills.
PASS Summit 2016 was a week ago, and I’ve tried (unsuccessfully) to put my thoughts into words. I’ve read many excellent blog posts about the conference and I wholly agree with them all, but I wanted to articulate my feelings in a blog post of my own. PASS Summit 2016 was my third Summit on paper, but was more like my first in reality. The previous two times, I went to the sessions, spent time on the exhibition floor, ate my lunch with other attendees and then I went back to my hotel to read up, do research, work or just watch TV.
Story time again. This tuesday I was to create a set of import packages in SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) to automate data loading from a couple of my customers' storage systems. Said data comes in the shape of several text files - some delimited, some fixed length, all of varying size and shape. Anyone who’s worked with SSIS know how “fun” it is to click-click-click your way through the incomprehensibly boring GUI - a GUI that does NOT lend itself to any efficient work at all. We had been struggling with this for a couple of days before summer already, but the data format has changed and it’s basically the same amount of work to just redo the whole thing again from scratch than to try to edit all the tiny details in all the gazillion boxes everywhere.
I’ve just stepped on the train from Gothenburg and SQL Saturday #536, where I had the honor of giving a talk about consolidation with SQL Server 2016. This SQL Saturday was organized by Mikael Wedham, a very friendly and exceedingly knowledgeable Swede. He had managed quite an amazing lineup with speakers this year: John Q. Martin, Erland Sommarskog, Mark Broadbent and Cathrine Wilhelmsen just to mention a few. As events go, this one was a small-to-mid-sized event. I think I heard Mikael say that about 90 were registered and about 15-20 were no-shows. I’m sorry to see so many no-shows, especially as this is an all-volunteer event all around, but then I was very happy to see everybody else that DID show up and make the event spectacular.
A large part of my work as a consultant is giving presentations and teaching stuff. I’ve been doing presenting and teaching since 2000 and I feel fairly good at it. When I started out I was young and inexperienced, something I compensated for with a huge ego instead. Needless to say, I had … mixed results. Thankfully I’m a quick learner and dialed back the ego and increased the use of my ears to a level where I consistently managed to get both my points across and get good scores. I had my own company in parallel with my normal job at the University and taught for a company called Learning Tree.