Why you should speak at a Tableau User Group
Updated: Jan 18, 2018
Recently I was fortunate enough to present at the London Tableau User Group (TUG) about the implementation of a Tableau Centre of Excellence (CoE) within my organisation. I enjoyed the experience so much that it inspired me to write a blog post that will hopefully encourage you to volunteer and actively participate in your local TUG.
Before I get into the selling pitch I thought it would be worthwhile sharing a bit about me; I am definitely not an extravert, my natural place in the world is not to be presenting in front of hundreds of people or being the centre of attention. During the recent #MakeoverMonday Myers Briggs week (https://public.tableau.com/profile/simon.beaumont#!/vizhome/MakeoverMonday-Week43MyersBriggspersonalitytypes/MakeoverMonday-Week43MyersBriggspersonalitytypes) I took the test and was very much in the I sections rather than the E ones; all the characteristics of someone wanting to avoid the spotlight!
So let’s start by dispelling a fear people may have
Isn’t it a bit scary presenting to potentially over one hundred people?
Yes I presented to over one hundred people at the London TUG but actually the experience is more like talking to your friends and family rather than to a bunch of strangers. There is one common passion of everyone in the room; Tableau. Everyone is there to learn new techniques and approaches for the product they love using, everyone wants you to do well and that created an incredibly positive energy that soon alleviated any nerves I had. I presented for 45 minutes and the time flew by.
Not only is it enjoyable you also have people on hand to help you
The TUG organisers will support you in your preparation and will be on hand during the event to ensure it goes smoothly
The organisers of the London TUG, or indeed any TUG, are awesome! Paul Chapman, Sarah Bartlett, Pablo Gomez (aka the TUG Tarentino for his legendary recording skills), David Pires, Nicholas Bignell and Paul Banoub all supported me in the days leading up to the London TUG. They read my biog and my presentation and provided useful feedback to make my presentation the best and most informative it possibly could be. On the night the organisers helped ensure all the technology worked and they helped the Q&A’s resulting from the presentation go smoothly. The one message to take away from this is that you will not be alone when presenting at your local TUG.
Even the gurus can learn something from your presentation
You don’t need to be the leading expert in your subject matter to present about it
I presented our Tableau CoE with Paul Banoub and Paul Chapman in the room; without doubt two of the most knowledgeable, friendly and approachable people you could ever wish to meet when wanting to learn about Tableau CoEs. I have had the fortune to learn so much from their presentations at Tableau Conferences and User Groups and I cannot thank them enough for the vast amount of time they give to sharing their knowledge and expertise with the Tableau community.
You may fear that what you are presenting pales into insignificance when compared to the knowledge of the experts in the room but even the Pauls learnt something from my presentation, albeit a small thing, they told me our approach to using tags to personalise a user’s content was innovative and something that could be easily adopted by other organisations.
You may just learn something new yourself
People will ask questions and provide you with feedback about your presentation; but the questions will always be from a helpful stance. The questions are a chance for people to engage with you about your presentation, to focus on more specific points and to clarify the learning they want to take from it. That said, you may just learn something new as well, in my instance this was something painfully simple!
I chose to present my content to the London TUG using a Tableau Workbook shared via Tableau Public; this was inspired by all the amazing presentations provided by Tableau employees during Tableau Conference and Tableau Conference on Tour. It also meant people could easily access the content after the TUG; however the one thing I hadn’t anticipated was how small the Workbook may look when presenting it on the big screens at Tableau HQ in London.
Paul Chapman stepped in and suggested I zoom in using ctrl + to make the presentation a little bigger. I cannot thank Paul enough for doing this, having never given a presentation using Tableau Public for the slide deck I wouldn’t ever have anticipated the need to zoom in.
You will come out of the TUG with a bigger Tableau network and lots of new people to learn from
If you have a presence on Social Media the likelihood is you will end the day with a far bigger network of Tableau friends and experts than you started with! I was amazed at how many people reached out via Twitter, Workplace (the amazing London TUG online community space), Tableau Community and Tableau Public. Even now I am benefitting from this increased network; I am learning from more and more people passionate about Tableau and this is helping expand my Tableau knowledge and to engage in conversations that I may have previously missed out on.
It is an opportunity to get your work recognised
Many of the Tableau initiatives that we partake in every week, Makeover Monday, Workout Wednesday etc, are not only an opportunity to learn new skills but are also an opportunity to get your work recognised and to create a personal Tableau ‘brand’. Presenting at a TUG is no different; you will receive positive and constructive feedback on your work and you will also be presenting to people who will actively share the best bits of your work with others in the Tableau community.
People even took the time out of their busy day to contact me in the days following the London TUG to say thank you and to share with me the ways in which my presentation had helped them:
“I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed and was inspired by your talk at the London TUG on Monday evening…. as a result of your talk we have scrapped our league tables and are going to focus much more on celebrating achievement…. seeing that you are doing similar things has fortified us to continue to try and reach out (to our users).”
If you would like to see the content of what I presented to the London TUG the slides are available via my Tableau Public page:
If you do take the plunge and volunteer to speak at your local Tableau User Group I hope your experience is as enjoyable as mine was, it would be great to hear about your how your presentation went so please do reach out to me on Twitter (@simonbeaumont04) and let me know!