August 9th 2013

On Wednesday I drove up to Appleton, WI to present at FoxPASS on pivot tables. This was my first time visiting a user group outside Madison as a guest presenter and I was excited.

FoxPASS is smaller than MADPASS, but it's a great group. The format of the meeting is simple: you turn up, grab some pizza & a drink (they even have beer!), chit chat a little and then watch a presentation. If I was new to the world of PASS, FoxPASS would be a wonderful first user group to go to. Everyone was very friendly.

The presentation itself went well. Since this was my 2nd time doing this presentation, I made a big change (and took a risk) by introducing some interaction into the middle of the presentation. So, instead of me standing at the front blabbering away for an entire hour, I invited someone else to come up and try building their own pivot table against the demo dataset. The audience reacted well - coming up with some great questions about tornadoes that one unlucky volunteer then got to answer by building pivot tables. It was great and really broke up the monotony of my voice.

The interaction went so well that next time I do this presentation, I'm tempted to make it entirely audience-driven (once I've introduced the basic concepts). Rather than dryly explaining different options, I would act more as a facilitator; answering questions and explaining things as they come up naturally. That would be much more fun for both me and the audience (once they get past their shyness). Indeed, I'm tempted to re-do my Power View presentation in the same vein - letting the audience get their hands on the tool. Finally, I'm considering writing a Power Pivot presentation. But before I do, I'm going to relax and enjoy the last few weeks of summer.

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