Browsing articles tagged with " Speaking"

Strutting: We all Know When You are Doing It. So Stop.

Jun 25, 2014   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, DLBlog  //  1 Comment

Rant Level: High. It’s Friday. 

Kanye West Ruins Taylor Swift's VMAs Win

 

I was reading an ACM blog post by Judy Robertson about strutting, a tactic used by audience members at event.  Robertson discusses a specific type of this behaviour, done by IT people: nerd strutting

Garvin-Doxas and Barker (2004) refer to "strutting" as a style of interaction where people show off their knowledge by asking questions carefully designed to demonstrate that they know a lot about the topic, and quite possibly that they know more than everyone else around them. The problem with this in a learning situation is that students who lack confidence assume that they are the only person who doesn’t understand, and quickly feel even more demoralised.

The full paper is available if you’d like to read about the study these researchers did on Defensive Climate in the Computer Science Classroom.

I’m betting you’ve seen this behaviour before.  In fact, I’d bet that if you attend enough events, you could name the people most likely to nerd strut before the speaker has even gotten 15 minutes into her presentation.  They ask questions, often sprinkled with references to product codenames, Greek philosophers, small startups and archaic error numbers.   They use highly jargonized terms.  They use insider terms. They want you to feel outside the inner circle.  They want you to know just how freaking smart they are.  But you know what’s funny?  The vast majority of the people in the room can see what they are doing and silently smirk.   

I’m interested in hearing just what sorts of people fall for this bravado.  Everyone else in the room talks about how insanely annoying the behaviour is, but no one wants to do anything about it.  I’m not even sure what we can do about it, other than to ask audience members to stop.  

Insults R Us

Another tactic that nerd strutters do is sit in the audience and stage whisper criticisms of the speaker and the topics.  I find this incredibly annoying as an audience member.  It doesn’t impress me, nor does it make me feel as if the strutmaster is actually convincing anyone he is superior. A variation of this is a group of people, chatting with each other and loudly snickering about the speaker or the topic.   

If you are sitting in a presentation and you find it too "level 100” for your tastes, you should just get up and find a presentation more fitting for your enormous brain…or whatever body part is keeping you from learning anything.

Why it Matters

I know, some of you are saying “But Karen, just ignore the @$$#@+s that do this stuff”.  I do, mostly.  However, Garvin-Doxas and Barker found that the effect of many types of negative communication, even when it was not intended, has a negative impact on many students, especially women.  Yes, women should suck it up and learn to play the game of competition.  But we don’t do it that well.  In general, women prefer a collaborative environment.   We love a bit of friendly competition. But one where team members insult others in public? Not so much.

The authors point to the fact that IT work is highly collaborative.  Supporting and enabling a culture of jabs, insults, mockery and distain works against that goal.  I hear people constantly ranting that topic X should not be on a conference agenda because it is isn’t what *they* want  learn.  I say “choose another session – there are several other tracks”.  When I see someone nerd strut in front of an entire audience, I want to call them out – tell them they are showing off.  We can all tell when a question isn’t really a question. I don’t call people out on this, though, because no one else does.

What to Do

Robertson gives 3 tips in her blog post on dealing with nerd strutting.  Go read them.  I’d love to see the community deal with this in a consistent, collaborative way.

I’d like to add to them:

1. Encourage others to ask questions during presentations.  One of the reasons why many nerd strutters can do what they do, often several times in the same session, is that very few people ask questions or give commentary.  If enough people are asking legitimate questions, then the strutters get less show time.

2. Ask the Insult R Us people to take their conversation elsewhere. It’s annoying enough to hear anyone ramble on while you are trying to listen to the speaker.  It’s not rude or unfair to ask people, no matter what they are talking about, to either be quiet or to wander somewhere else.

3. Stand up to people who insult the work of others.  This one is the biggest pet peeve of mine.  It’s fine for people to be proud of their own work.  It’s not cool for them to insult the work of others just because they think it’s easy or low-level stuff. I don’t just draw boxes and lines all day.  BI professionals don’t just draw bar charts all day.  Developers don’t just type all day.  We all have difficult jobs.  I don’t need to step on someone else to raise myself up.  I will continue to speak out to the people who need to insult others.  I’m hoping you can, too.

Community Impact

From the paper:

Finally, when people communicate certainty in a dogmatic fashion, they also tend to communicate a low tolerance for disagreement. When defensive communication becomes habitual in a social context, it engenders a "defensive climate." Distrust of others becomes the norm, resulting in a social environment privileging competition over cooperation.

We all need to recognize that this negative behaviour hurts everyone.  It poisons the community.  It drives people away, especially new community members and those who want to work together to solve problems and build the community.   And we all need to work together to keep people focused on making the community an inclusive, inviting environment.

Garvin-Doxas, K. and Barker, L. J. 2004. Communication in computer science classrooms: understanding defensive climates as a means of creating supportive behaviors. J. Educ. Resour. Comput. 4, 1 (Mar. 2004), 2. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1060071.1060073

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Toronto SQL Server User Group PASS Summit Discount Code

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Many Toronto User Group members will be attending the PASS Summit in November in Seattle Washington, including me.  If you work with SQL Server, this is the only community-driven event for SQL Server training, presentations, workshops and networking.

Would you like to join us?  Use our PASS Summit Discount code / Coupon / promo code:

CASUMG64

You can register now at  http://www.sqlpass.org/summit/2014/RegisterNow.aspx and use the code to save $150 off full registrations.  If you register before 27 June, you’ll get the best discount you can get right now and the Toronto User Group gets $50 to fund our meetings which start again in September.  That’s right: you save some dough and our user group gets funding for our upcoming season that starts in September 2014.

If you can’t register now, no worries.  You can still use our chapter code later. 

Feel free to share this information with colleagues, even the discount code.  The more the merrier. And the better you can love your SQL Server data.

What about XP, Agile, SCRUM, Lean…? #EDW2014

Mar 31, 2014   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Data Modeling, Events, Speaking  //  No Comments

At the upcoming Enterprise Data World 2014, I’ll be doing a half-day presentation on Driving Development Projects with Enterprise Data Models

Here are a few teases for what we will be talking about:

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The Abstract:

Monday, April 28, 2014
08:30 AM – 11:45 AM

Level: 
Intermediate

Join this session to see how data fits in real-world enterprise development projects. We’ll answer such questions as:

  • "Who does what?"
  • "Why are we doing this?"
  • "Will it slow things down?”
  • “Will it work with agile development?”
  • "Will I have to actually talk to a data architect?"
  • “What about the Cloud?”
  • "What are the biggest mistakes teams make?"
  • "Will I still have a job?"

The session will feature demos of common data modeling-to-database processes, including reverse engineering, forward engineering, generating DDL, alter scripts, and more. You will leave with 10 tips for making model-driven database development successful in your organization’s culture and environment.

Data Management Career Success…in Turbulent Times

Slides from my frequent DAMA and Enterprise Data World presentation on data management career success.

Join Me at Enterprise Data World and Save $200 + $200

Conference Session Photo

I’ve been attending Enterprise Data World for more than 15 years.  This event, focused on data architectures, data management, data modeling data governance and other great enterprise-class methods is part technical training and part revival for data professionals.  It’s just that good.

This year the big bash is being held in Austin, TX, a thriving tech-oriented community, 27-April to 1 May.  And this year’s theme is “The Transformation to Data-Driven Business Starts Here.”

And right now there’s a $200 Early Bird Discount going…plus if you use coupon code “DATACHICK” you can save $200 more on a multi-day registration or fifty bucks on a one day pass.  There.  I just saved you $400.  And no, I get no kickbacks with this discount code.  I don’t need them.  I need you to be at this event, sharing your knowledge and meeting other data professionals. I need you to be part of the community of data professionals.

Top 10 Reasons You Need to Go to EDW 2014

  1. Data is HOT HOT HOT.  I deemed 2013 The Year of Data and I see no signs that organizations are going to back to software-is-everything thinking.  2014 is still going to be a year full of data. There’s even an executive, invitation-only CDOvision even co-located.
  2. Not Just Bullet Points.  There are over 20 hours of scheduled networking events for you to chat with other data-curious people.  Chatting with other data professionals is my favourite part of this event.  Bring your business cards…er… .vcs contact file.
  3. Lots of Expertise. Not just data celebrities, but also other data professionals with thousands of hours of hands-on experiences, sharing their use cases around data.  And not just data modeling.  Big Data.  Analytics.  Methods.  Tools.  Open Data.  Governance. NoSQL. SQL. RDBMS. Fun.
  4. Certifications.  You can take advantage of the Pay-Only-If-You-Pass option for the CDMP on-site certification testing.
  5. Workshops. I’m doing a half day tutorial on Driving Development Projects with Enterprise Data Models.  I’ll be talking about how data models fit within real-life, practical, get-stuff-done development projects. No ivory towers here.
  6. SIGs.  There are special interest groups on data modeling products, industries and methods. You can meet people just like you an share your tips and tricks for data lovin.  I will be leading the ER/Studio SIG.
  7. Ice Cream.  This conference has a tradition of the ice cream break on the exhibit floor.  Nice ice cream, even.
  8. Austin. Austin is one of the more vibrant cities in Texas.  So cool, it even has a Stevie Ray Vaughan statue. Museums, Theatres, indoor golf, clubs.  There’s a reason why SxSW is held here.
  9. Vendors. Yes, we love them, too.  Meet the product teams of the makers of the tools you use every day.  Or meet new teams and ask for a demo.  They are good people.
  10. Love Your Data.  There’s no better way to show your love than to network with other data professionals and learn from industry leaders.

Come learn how to help your organization love data better.  You might even see me in a lightning talk holding a martini.  Or taking impromptu pics of @data_model and other data professionals.  Or debating data management strategy with people from around the globe.  In other words, talking data. With people who love their data.  Join us.

5 February–Panel: Myths, Misunderstandings and Successes in Data Analytics

Feb 4, 2014   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Analytics, Blog, Events, NoSQL, Speaking  //  No Comments

Panel Brochure

On Thursday 5 February at 5:00 PM EST I’ll be moderating a panel on Myths, Misunderstandings and Successes in Data Analytics as part of the PASS Business Analytics 24 Hours of PASS preview.  It’s free, but you need to register.  And I have a fantastic set of panelists: Stacia Misner, Joey D’Antoni and Lynn Langit.

imageSpeaker(s)Karen Lopez  Stacia Misner  Joseph D’Antoni  Lynn Langit

Duration: 60 minutes

Track: Strategy and Architecture

Big Data, Business Analytics, Data Analytics, NoSQL, Relational . . . do we even agree on what we mean by those terms? In this panel session, industry thought leaders will discuss and debate the most common myths, truths, and mostly-truths of new and traditional approaches for enterprise data management and analytics.

We’ll be leaving time for questions from the audience, so come ready with your myths and stories.

Accompanying Materials:

Yes, there’s 24 hours of goodness spread out over 2 days, so check out the other sessions.

10 Things I Hate About Interviewing with You–Follow Up

Sep 23, 2013   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Interviewing, Professional Development  //  1 Comment

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If you think about it, interviewing, on both sides of the desk, is a lot like online dating.  You have a profile (your resume and LinkedIn profile) and the company has a profile (annual reports, online databases) and both of you are matched up via those profiles. Sometimes it’s done via a computer algorithm (online sites), sometimes you have a matchmaker (agency).

This past weekend my friend Thomas LaRock ( blog | @sqlrockstar ) and I presented on 10 Things I Hate About Interviewing with You at SQLSaturday San Diego.  We drew upon that analogy to talk about the myths and missteps that people make while being the interviewer and interviewee.  You can download the slides in my document library, but I wanted to share the 10 Tips and the additional resources we gave.

10 Tips for Better Interviewing

1. Do your homework

Your job in an interview is to come across as smart and confident.  There are things you need to do to get ready.  Having read the resume and the company profiles is just one important step.

2. Study the resume & job posting

You don’t want to be reviewing the resume or the job posting as you are interviewing.  You won’t be able to think of great questions or to listen while answers are being given.

3. Have a plan, but be prepared to detour

All that prep is good, but you need to be able to come up with questions and answers if the interview starts heading in a different direction.  I once interviewed for a project, only to have the interviewer realize that I was a better fit for a much higher role and project.  That meant more money and a better gig.

4. Ask real questions

We give a list of some of the interviewer questions we think have proven to be trite, tired and nearly useless.  Let’s just say they involve mirrors and kryptonite.

5. Listen, then ask follow up questions

It kills me to see an interviewer asking questions but not really processing them; they might as well be a webform recording my responses.  And I’ve seen interviewees give responses to questions, even crazy questions, and not ask any follow ups or ask context-seeking questions. That says to me they aren’t really “there” in the interview.

6. Be engaging and sincere, even if you have to fake it

It really hurts to see an interviewee be flat and less than passionate about what they do.  It know interviewing is stressful and nerves get in the way.  But to fail at being engaging comes across as flat.

7. Your job is to sell, without being salesy

Never rate yourself as 11 out of 10 or to say you know everything.  Interviewers don’t actually like overconfidence.  There needs to be a few “it depends” discussions and a few “I don’t knows” if the interview questions are good.  On the other side of the desk, an interviewer that spends more time selling the company or the project might be desperate for a resource for reasons you don’t want them to be.

8. Show humility, but don’t downplay your strengths

Be yourself.  Admit to when you don’t know something.  But don’t downplay your knowledge or skills.  And ladies, we are really bad about doing this.  Some guys, too, I know.  But ladies, seriously.  Take credit for what you know and the successes you’ve had. Other candidates are telling the interviewers that they the only person on the planet that can be successful in this job.  You need to rate strong.

9. Follow up if you promised to do something

If you promised to send references or more details about your background, or even to share a book title you really liked, do it.  Even if you don’t make it for this job, you’ll want a great reason to keep your name in front of that interviewer.  Interviewers, if you promised to seen updates about the status of the process, do it or don’t make the promise.

10. Be willing help each other, even if there isn’t a good fit

If you find out during the interview that the job isn’t for you, that’s not a fail.  If you know someone who might fit, forward along the information to them.  That’s a win for everyone.  Don’t hoard job opportunities. 

I’ve included some background on each of these, but to get the good discussion stories behind these, you’ll need to attend one of our future presentations of this.    We have one story about the importance of your interviewers not needing to know the status of your underwear, too.  It’s not all do’s and don’ts

Interviewing Resources

Just a few of the resources I recommend for interviewing and being interviewed.

Fun

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/interview_questions

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/interviewees

 

Tom’s Blog

http://thomaslarock.com/2012/09/10-things-i-hate-about-interviewing-you/

http://thomaslarock.com/2012/09/10-things-i-hate-about-interviewing-with-you/

•…plus many more….

 

Karen’s Blog

http://www.datamodel.com/index.php/2012/01/30/another-zombie-job-posting-data-architect-designer-implementer-operational-support/

http://www.datamodel.com/index.php/2010/07/16/looking-for-a-job-some-free-advice-thats-paid-for-1/

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