Thank you to Chris Yates ( @YatesSQL ) for providing the topic for T-SQL Tuesday #36: What does the SQL Community mean to you?
A key part of any community is getting connected, and even harder, staying connected. There are many ways to connect with, and become a part of, the SQL Community: Blogging, SQL User Groups and Virtual Chapters, SQL Saturdays, Twitter, LinkedIn, and much more. I’ve done six presentations at SQL Saturdays with Dave Valentine ( @IngeniousSQL ) now and have started each with a ‘Public Service Announcement’ about the importance of networking, which pulls people into the SQL Community (you will be assimilated). I think the PSA fits in perfectly for this post, and it goes something like this (it’s fun to watch the eye rolling as I’m saying this, because I know the ending):
- Before we go thru the agenda, we wanted to spend just a few minutes on Networking. SQLSaturdays are great for the free training, but I think we get caught up in the technical aspects and forget that it is IDEAL for networking. Take advantage of it: before and after sessions, during lunch, and try to go to the after party, even if it’s only for a little bit.
- The people in here are more likely to help you get your next job than online searches. As a matter of fact, your next boss could be in here right now. Or, maybe you’ll meet somebody who you will end up interviewing with. I’ve interviewed many people on behalf of my clients.
- Don’t get me wrong, networking is hard to do for most of us geeks. I’d rather speak in front of a room full of people, than walk up to one person and say ‘Hi, I’m Rick Krueger’. It still feels awkward to me, but I force myself to do it.
- Dave and I have set personal goals to meet 3 new people at each SQL Event and we want to help you expand your professional network. So later today, please take the time to introduce yourself to Dave and I – that’s 2 risk free intros.
- Now for the hard one. We’ve set aside a few minutes, and when I give the signal, I want you to stand up and introduce yourself to someone new – not the person you carpooled here with. Keep it simple, tell them your name, title, and where you work. To make sure they remember you, slip them your business card. And, if you get a business card, make sure you follow up. 500 character or less is all that it takes. OK, everybody up.
I like to think that I read facial expressions fairly well, so I keep track of who I make slightly uncomfortable while doing this, and then watch them when we are trying to wrap it up a few minutes later. They are the ones enjoying it the most, and the hardest to get to sit back down. Another thing about the SQL Community, as much as DBAs have the stereotype of being curmudgeons, they eat the networking stuff up. One speaker evaluation even said that they wish it was done in every SQL Saturday session. In contrast, we did the same schtick at a developer conference, and saw tweets from one developer complaining that we made them talk to each other!