10 Questions To Spark Conversation At Your Next SQL Event

Published on: 2017-10-24

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

Here’s a word for word transcription of a conversation I’ve had a hundred times over:

“Hi I’m Bert.  What do you do?”

“I’m ____ and I’m a SQL developer.”

“That’s cool, me too.”

*crickets*

*I look down at phone because I don’t know what to talk about*

Sound familiar?

In the next few weeks, you might find yourself at a conference like PASS Summit or SQLintersection.  If not a conference, then maybe a local user group, meetup, or SQL Saturday.

Inevitably you will find yourself surrounded by strangers.  Strangers who you know share common interests with you (SQL, duh!).

But if you are like me, starting a meaningful conversation with those strangers can be uncomfortable.  Most people have interesting stories to share, the challenge is to get them to talk about them.

The good news is that I’ve developed an easy way to get a conversation started with the people you just met:

Come prepared with interesting open-ended questions.

Prefer watching on YouTube?  Go ahead!  Otherwise, keep reading below.

I keep a memorized list of open-ended questions that I can ask whenever I don’t know how to keep the conversation going.  Try asking any of these questions the next time you don’t know what to say (and reciprocate by sharing your own fun story); I guarantee these will spark some interesting conversations.

1. “What’s your best SQL Server war story?”

We’ve all been in the trenches and have had to play the hero.

2. “What are your thoughts on EntityFramework/ORMs?”

If you ever want to get a table full of SQL DBAs going, this will do it.

3. “What’s the oldest version of SQL Server you are still stuck supporting?”

Although this one elicits a one-word response, the next easy follow-up is “why/how!?”

4. “What was your biggest “oops” moment?”

Backups were corrupt?  Yeahhhhh….

5. “What’s the most recent feature you started using in SQL Server 2014/2016/2017? How is it?”

I love hearing people’s answers to this because it’s a good way to figure out what new features really add value and which ones are over-hyped/limited in functionality.

6. “Are you using <feature you are interested in learning>?  How is it?”

Similar to #5, this is a great way to get real-world feedback about certain features.

7. “What’s your favorite session from today/this week?  What did you like most about it?”

I love finding out what sessions other people found useful – once again, real world reviews on what I should check out in the future.

8. “Have you been to <city> before? Do you have any recommendations for what I should do/see/eat?”

Great way to get to know the surrounding area without having to read reviews online.

9. “Do you use PowerShell or any other software to automate/do dev ops?”

PowerShell is the future.  Start learning how others are incorporating it into their environments, what struggles they’ve had implementing automated processes, etc…

10. “Are there any other events going on tonight?”

Especially great if talking to people who have attended the event before.  Find out what’s worth going to, if it’s better to show up early or late, is there a “best seat” in the house, etc…

I hope this list of questions encourages you to become better acquainted with your fellow conference goers.  And if I see you at PASS Summit…don’t be surprised if you hear me ask you one of these questions!

Thanks for reading. You might also enjoy following me on Twitter.

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Behind the Scenes of an Online Presentation

Published on: 2017-06-13

Charlie is an attentive audience member

Last week I presented my session “DBAs vs Developers: JSON in SQL Server 2016” at the online GroupBy Conference.

As I prepared for the event, I thought about all of the things that were different about getting ready for an online versus an in-person event.

Thinking that others might be interested in seeing what I do to get ready for an online talk, I filmed myself as I prepared for presentation day and put together this “behind the scenes” video.

Check it out, along with my actual talk on JSON in SQL Server 2016, in the videos below!

Slides and demo code from the presentation is available at https://bertwagner.com/presentations/

And the presentation video itself:

And slide deck:

 

Thanks for reading. You might also enjoy following me on Twitter.

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[Video] JSON Usage and Performance in SQL Server 2016

Published on: 2017-04-05

Using JSON because you are lazy is not a good excuse!

Last night I had the privilege to present to the Ohio North SQL Server User Group about JSON in SQL Server 2016. There was a great crowd present (they laughed at all of my terrible jokes so how can they not be great!?) and I had a wonderful time sharing what I know about JSON.

Below you can find my video recording of the presentation as well as the slides and demo code.

Also worth highlighting is OnTopReplica, an open source piece of software I used that basically does picture-in-picture display of another window on your desktop. You can hear everyone get excited by it at 18 minutes and 30 seconds into the video.

Enjoy the resources below :). These as well as resources from other past presentations are available at https://bertwagner.com/presentations/ .

Video

Slides

Demo Scripts

https://bertwagner.com/presentations/JSON%20in%20SQL%20Server%202016%20-%20Bert%20Wagner.zip

Thanks for reading. You might also enjoy following me on Twitter.

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