The organizers of SQL Saturday #250 in Pittsburgh did a great job at putting on their second SQL Saturday. Well Done!
I volunteered to perform a keynote for this event. I blogged about developing it here. I had practiced and tweaked the dellivery about 10 times before Saturday. I was told that the time available was about 40 minutes and practiced for that amount of time. The scheduled called for the opening remarks and keynote to go from 8:00 to 9:00. I was then told on Friday night that they needed to be done by 8:50 to allow for the attendees to get to the breakout rooms. I was anticipating that there might be a slight time crunch, but shaving about 10 minutes off was going to be a challenge. When I got back to the hotel, I cranked up the laptop and practiced the keynote two more times at a much faster pace. I also found out that the room where I was speaking had no sound system and that my voice would need to project in order to reach the audience. We got off to a late start by a few minutes and the transition between the opening remarks and the keynote was a little less than smooth as we only had a single microphone to share. This microphone also was not for the room where I was presenting; it was for the overflow rooms. It paid off as I ended right at 8:50am.
The first part of the keynote was about Community Resources and especially PASS. As I concluded the community portion of the keynote, I had a Specific Call to Action for the Attendees which aligned with Connect/Share/Learn. Here it is:
- Connect - Meet at least 10 New People Today. Get on twitter and follow #sqlhelp
- Share - Actively Particiapte in the Sessions Today and Provide Feedback to the Presenters on the Evaluation Forms
- Learn - Write Down at least one tip from each session and review it on Monday Morning
Was I successful? Was it inspring? It is hard to tell; however, I felt like I connected with the audience and had at least some measure of success with one of the "Call to Action" items with some anecdotal evidence. I asked the attendees to actively participate in the sessions and to provide feedback to the speakers on the evaluations. This was the "Share" (as in Connect / Share / Learn) Action that the attendees could easily fulfill. Almost all of my evaluations for my breakout session had comments. As other speakers reviewed their evaluations, they also noticed an uptick in commentary on the evaluations.
The second part of the keynote was focused on three new features of SQL Server 2014. Again, I felt like I was successful in connecting with the audience as I framed up the changes in server technology over the past 10 years. I was going at Warp Speed with the additonal time constraints, but at least the audience has an idea of why some of the features in SQL Server 2014 are significant.
I wrapped up the keynote again with the Call To Action for Connect/Share/Learn and sent them on their way. I had a lot of energy and overcame some last minute challenges. It was great fun to deliver a keynote as it is different than a regular breakout session. I'd love to do it again.