The value of attending a conference or any educational program can feel a bit intangible. Sort of like dining in a restaurant. You know of course if the experience is positive, e.g., the chair and table comfortable, the wait staff attentive and helpful, the ambiance enjoyable, the food satisfying, the company delightful. But once you’ve left and the food digested, what have you gained? What you don’t see – and often don’t notice – is how the body used the food, how the mind used the time. Are you better for the meal?
And, so when we attend a conference, we leave with an impression and then get back to the mill and play little notice of any changes.
#Ideas16 was for me different. My mind feels stretched. My body “moved” in different ways thanks to a session on making music and one on improv. I’ve already used a technique in facilitation I picked up. I modified a slide deck based on a session on visualization. I used a few facts in my conference call and in a report I had to write. Over the next 4 weeks, I will be adding a few new techniques and elements to training and planning sessions I am leading.
So what made the difference? I believe it was (1) presenters/facilitators who created safe spaces to try something new; (2) the opportunity on the last day to participate in a closing lunch sans speaker where we shared nuggets thus embedding our experiences; and (3) my decision to think more intentionally about what I wanted to get out of the event which in turn had me more focused on session and activity choice.
If you missed ASAE’s Great Ideas Conference, here’s a good recap. But if you want to look further, here are the speakers/presenters that I’d recommend you check out:
- “The Membership Economy: Find Your Super Users, Master the Forever Transaction, and Build Recurring Revenue" is Robbie Kellman Baxter’s look at membership from a business model. Her session was a cool discovery, but you can get a lot from the book. Have time on Friday, April 8? Join the Wild Apricot membership summit keynote webinar with Robbie (the online summit runs 4/4-8 and is free).
- By day Jeff Glassie is an attorney with Whiteford, Taylor, Preston and Erik Schonher is VP for a Marketing General – get to know more about both but not about their day jobs. Instead get to know their philosophy on life (smile) … their session on the Music of Associations was an exploration of bringing people together to collaborate on the music. I played a harmonica in our “pick-up” band. Tapping the other side of your members or staff, creates new-found respect, perspective and fun.
- Improv is a way of life for Coonor Behal. Her session with Lish Ephraim of YGS Group had us “getting each other’s back” not to mention finishing each other’s story and connecting physically. Coonor brought to workshop her background including teaching faculty of the Washington Improv Theater and performer with several improv troupes. Book them for an ideation session or improve class.
- Did you know the best flip chart writers use their whole body? With Eris Weaver’s help, we learned how to put our whole body into it and how to put less into our slide decks and how to create a mind map. The facilitation techniques that embraced the visual part of the body were – well – eye-opening. Check out her post on the Value of a Pie for a taste.
What did you learn from the last conference/workshop you attended?