I am writing this post at 12:30 am on a flight back to Toronto from London. The three-day Association of Change Management Professionals Europe conference was excellent. Although it is late, I am still on a post-conference high.
My role was to participate on a ‘Best Change Management Books’ panel and to lead a session called ‘Helping Leaders Lead Change’.
My session went well. There were six other interesting sessions running in parallel so I wasn’t sure if anyone would show up. They did and the room was full.
Presenting to your community is a heightened experience. Given the expert knowledge and experience in the room, you are fortunate if it turns into an engaging dialogue. I didn’t anticipate how much dialogue we had and had prepared too much information. The participants will have the extra slides, which hopefully is a bonus to them.
I have not been a role model for investing time to learn. For most of my career, I was always ‘too busy’ to go to courses or conferences ̶ knowledge only came through experience and reading.
Conferences are essential for personal and business development. Here are my top ten reasons for attending conferences in your field:
- Learn of advancements in your field ̶ e.g., neuroscience is still hot
- Test and expand your perspectives
- Understand what other businesses offer
- Reconnect with friends
- Grow your network
- Reenergize you excitement for your profession
- Take time to reflect, when learning takes hold
- Learn of other conferences that would be good to attend (e.g., Berlin Change Days 2013)
- Realize how much you don’t know
- Miss and appreciate your family
My next change management conference is in March. I know I will leave it wiser than I am now.
I received great news last week. My proposal to speak at the Association of Change Management Professionals’ Europe Conference was accepted!
This achievement is important in many ways. It’s my first speaking engagement outside North America, which begins the global phase of marketing Change with Confidence. Also, it is a premiere conference with excellent speakers, run by a distinguished organization−it’s a five star event. Another reason is that it is being held in London where I was based at Cadbury for three years. I will have the opportunity to visit old friends. It’s going to be a great week.
The speaker review process was thorough and included a written proposal, a submission of additional information and a Skype-recorded presentation on my content, audience target and level of interaction.
I was intrigued by the focus on attendees’ participation. Many years ago, I realized that when leading training sessions, the less I spoke the more people learned. Their engagement and exploration of concepts is where most of the learning takes place.
The approach I am taking for my session is new to me. After sharing my key insights on change, I will “crowd source” the direction the conversation will take: the participants will determine what real-life scenario we will discuss, what questions we will answer and what approach we will take to do so? Self-directed learning to the power of 75-150 people.
My preparation will take longer than usual because I need to be ready for all combinations of options. I will also need to design a way for people to interact with each other as they progress through the choices.
This will be the most adventurous presentation I have given on change: spontaneous, dynamic and perhaps even chaotic. Like dealing with change, the destination is clear but how you really will get there is not. As long as I talk less than the participants, we will learn a lot.