Continual Learning

Keith April 5th, 2007

I spoke at CPA Australia’s National Public Sector Convention in Brisbane on 21 March.  Hard to believe that it was just over two weeks ago!

As I have written here before, I enjoy speaking at conferences.  Apart from learning lots from other speakers and the networking opportunities, it is a great chance to play tourist in between everything else.  I strongly believe in continual learning.  My personal development plan (agreed with my manager) is mostly based on attending conferences. 

I do sometimes think about going back to formal study again some day.  It is now 13 years since I graduated with an IT degree, and I have done no formal study since then.  I have dabbled though – First Aid, Teaching Migrants English, a little German language.  All very enjoyable.

However, it occurred to me a while ago that speaking at conferences fills a very similar niche.  In both roles, you need to do your research, and prepare your material for submission.  The conference is your final exam, and the session feedback provides your results.  (Perhaps a better indication of results is being invited back again…)

There was some discussion last year on actKM about conferences, and the best ways to run them.  An observation made about speaking (I think it was in the actKM discussion) that I have noticed myself is that about 50% of the response you get in your feedback comes from your expectations and how you feel about your session.

If you are feeling positive, and things seem to go well, then you will tend to do well.  If you step up to the lectern feeling a bit flat, or expecting the audience to be unresponsive, then you will tend to get less positive feedback.

I have also noticed that the more time I spend at the conference engaging with the attendees, the better the feedback I get on my presentation. 

All part of the learning experience!

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On another topic, I have just set up a site at Flickr, and loaded a few photos – including some from the Singapore and KL trip.

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