Recently I came across on Twitter a question from Chad Smith asking for advise on attending his first SQLSaturday.  The fact is asking means he is already ahead of the game and he is on Twitter.  I got him to follow me on Twitter and offered him the following the following advise via a DM because it didn’t fit the 140 character limit.

  • Plan out your sessions ahead of time that we you have plan on where to go. But be willing to deviate from this plan because you will be making friends.
  • Meet at least 5 new contacts at the event.
  • Introduce yourself to the people you sit down next too at each session, find out what they do.
  • Bring business cards with you, if you don’t have any get some made on at .
  • Don’t be afraid to approach the speakers we don’t bite. We really do like talking to the attendees, it is what makes it fun for us.
  • After the event connect with all the people you meet via Twitter or LinkedIn again we don’t bite.
  • Also, take time to thank the sponsors without them we wouldn’t have this free event.


He followed up by asking if he should bring his laptop or pen and paper for notes.

I told most speakers upload their slide decks to the SQLSaturday site after or even before the event and will usually tell at the beginning of the talk but ask them when they start talking.  I recommended bringing pen and paper (because you can’t also guarantee you can keep you laptop charged all day) and using your cellphone to take pictures of important slides.

I hoping the #SQLFamily will add other tips for first time attendees of PASS events that I may missed to the comments below for Chad and others that I may have missed.

By the ways he couldn’t have picked a better one than Indianapolis (note I might be bias I am from Indiana, Go HOOSIERS!).

Tracy Boggiano
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Tracy Boggiano

Database Superhero at ChannelAdvisor
Tracy has spent over 20 years in IT and has been using SQL Server since 1999 and is currently certified as a MCSE Data Management and Analytics. She has worked on SQL Server 6.5 and up including currently SQL 2017 RC1. She enjoys monitoring, performance tuning, and high availability and disaster recovery technologies. Tracy is currently a co-organizar the for special interest group for Advanced DBA Topics for the TriPASS user group.

She also tinkered with databases in middle school to keep her sports card collection organized.

Tracy has volunteered through the NC Guardian ad Litem program since 2003 advocating for abused and neglected foster children in court.This is her passion outside of SQL Server and favorite job.More information about this program in North Carolina can be found at or the national organization CASA at
Tracy Boggiano
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