This year the schedule for the PASS Community Summit was shifted by one day to change from having two days of pre-conference seminars and then the main conference on Wednesday through Friday; to having one day of pre-conference seminars, one day of post-conference seminars, and the main conference on Tuesday through Thursday. It will be interesting to see what sort of feedback this new schedule generates. As for me, it works fine either way.
The pre- and post-conference seminars are typically all-day seminars that cover a topic in significant depth. These seminars cost extra beyond the money for the main conference registration. I have been interested in several of these, but have not personally spent the extra money to attend any of them before this year. However, this year there was a special, short (2-hour) seminar entitled Networking to Build Business Contacts by Don Gabor, and I decided to go for it. And it actually turned out that as a PASS volunteer this year, I was eligible to attend a shorter 1-hour version of Don’s presentation at no additional charge. So, I took advantage of both, and both of them were well worth the time and money. A perk of the paid 2-hour session was a free copy of Don’s book How To Start A Conversation And Make Friends. I look forward to reading it. As a fan of the classic How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie, I am curious to see what overlap in tips and techniques there are, as well as pick up any new pointers.
Of course, in the 2-hour session, Don was able to go into the topic in more depth and provide additional tips as well as more time to practice on each other than during the 1-hour volunteer session. I learned good tips and put them to practice from both sessions. Unfortunately, even in the 2-hour time slot, Don was pressed for time and did not get through everything he had in the handouts. I would recommend to the PASS Program Committee for next year that they consider inviting Don back again, and perhaps allot a half-day for this. And while I’m on the topic, I’ll also suggest that the Program Committee and whoever else makes this type of decision, consider doing some half-day pre- and post-conference seminars that may be more affordable or just more attractive based on the duration than a full day is to some people.
After the pre-conference seminars wrapped up, the real kickoff to the main event happened Monday night. I strongly recommend that anyone coming to a future Community Summit event be sure to arrive for the Welcome Reception. It is a fantastic opportunity to reconnect with friends and contacts from previous events, meet in person some of the folks that you only know from online conversations or blog posts, and of course meet entirely new contacts and friends. This fun and food event is a great way to relax from a long day or training or travel, and get into the community mood and relax before everything gets hectic. The Quiz Bowl is getting better each year, and for part of the evening, they were showing a live feed of the Twitter conversation, following the #sqlpass hash-tag. For those who were not able to come this year, you might enjoy reading the feed of the conversation on the Summit home page.
Overall, I would say a great start to another great Summit!
posted @ Tuesday, November 03, 2009 11:30 PM