Continuing on with my Thursday series of SQL Saturday posts, this time I wanted to talk about keynotes.
I’ve been to a few events in my time, and one of the things that seems to get many people going in the morning is the keynote session. Even crappy ones, and we’ve had some amazingly crappy ones at the PASS Summit, still manage to get a large turnout.
Not every SQL Saturday will have a large space to hold a keynote, but you can get creative and casual. If it’s good weather, hold it outside. Note to Patrick LeBlanc, Baton Rouge in August DOES NOT have good weather.
If there’s a large foyer, have one there. You don’t need a formal room, tons of AV, etc., just a place where people can sit, sip some coffee (or tea, as Brian Kelley would do ), even if they are on the floor or standing, and someone is speaking in the round. Just work with the speaker to manage their expectations.
I think this is a great way to open the day, and there are some really interesting people in the SQL community that can entertain people for 15 or 20 minutes. They can set the stage for the rest of the day, make a few announcements, and kick the event off right. You don’t need a Steve Ballmer to have a good keynote.
I’d suggest that you pick one of your good speakers early on and ask them to give a short keynote, no slides, to open your event. I bet most of them would be thrilled to do so. I know I was honored to do so in Charlotte and am looking forward to doing it again in Baton Rouge.