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Don Burleson Blog 







Communications skills for technical instructors

Oracle Database Tips by Donald Burleson

I run a consulting company and we base our reputation of having instructions who are stellar, both in knowledge, but more important, in presentation style.  All of my instructors must be superb speakers, and mediocrity is not tolerated!

In my
job requirements list I always stress that written communications skills are an absolute requirement for the professional Oracle DBA, and I've seen many technically competent professional rejected because they cannot assemble a coherent sentence.
  Look at this collection is awful mistakes from resumes that I have received.

And look at these questions,
shameful, crappy communications that make me ashamed to be a database professional.  Oracle professionals are also required to be good speakers, and I have recommend training specifically designed to make instructors become effective speaker. 
  • Dale Carnegie - This is a timeless program, essential for anybody who must deal with the public.

  • Toastmasters - This is a great way to get started speaking in public.

  • Auctioneer school - Janet and I attended school and I became a licensed auctioneer to hone my speaking skills.  I highly recommend auctioneering school  because learning to think on your feet is an important skill for every instructor!
I learned instruction skills in College, teaching classes while studying the mannerisms of stellar professors and mentors such as the charismatic Dr. Frank Logan. 

I was super-lucky to work for several years under Dr. Logan, an amazing man who taught me everything from electromechanical programming to effective communication skills.

Getting excited about teaching

It's not easy, getting pumped-up over dry technical topics, but YOU MUST seem excited if you want to effective transfer information!  You must ask rhetorical questions, and have a wide range of vocabulary, whispering one minute and shouting the next . . .

Today, Stanford's Tom Peters is one of my communications hero's, an exciting and dynamic speaker who commands your attention.  Have a listen, you cannot ignore Tom Peters:

Remember, knowing your content is only part of becoming a top instructor!  If you lose your audience, you have failed, no matter how well you know the content.  This is especially important when teaching highly technical topics!

But it's also a matter of understanding written English!

Learning to write Good

Many competent oracle professionals have some of the worst grammar that I?ve ever encountered. Now, I?m no English major myself (I tested-out of College English to pursue technical courses) but I cannot believe some of the writing I see from certified Oracle professionals:

  • The installer Oracle uses to install the Oracle software is called the Oracle Universal Installer.
  • So we click on the check box that says Create Starter Database so that it is not checked.
  • This screen gives you a lot of information, and you will want to make a note of the information there.
  • This is the location that all the disk backups will be made to.
  • I find myself saying, 'self, where is that table anyway??. It is to answer questions like this that the data dictionary is meant for. 
  • I also like to leave enough room so that I can install the next version of Oracle on the disk too.
  • In our example we choose to opt to call our database BOOKTST.
  • This window indicates to Oracle that it should configure Oracle Enterprise Manager (OEM) and where it creates the database at.
  • The next screen is seen in the following screen print:
  • I suggest you click the sample schemas check box if you are building a database to test on, and have Oracle create them.


If you like Oracle tuning, you may enjoy the new book "Oracle Tuning: The Definitive Reference", over 900 pages of BC's favorite tuning tips & scripts. 

You can buy it direct from the publisher for 30%-off and get instant access to the code depot of Oracle tuning scripts.



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Note: This Oracle documentation was created as a support and Oracle training reference for use by our DBA performance tuning consulting professionals.  Feel free to ask questions on our Oracle forum.

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