The conference is officially over, and I have an extra evening in Orlando. Before I figure out what to do with it, I wanted to get a few thoughts down on what has transpired the last two days.
I opened Tuesday with the only session that I felt missed the mark. The speaker struck out because he didn’t cover any of the material that he had listed on the program. It led to a mass exodus of attendees and a very uncomfortable session as he realized what was happening. Thankfully he wrapped up 35 minutes early, which gave me a chance to pop in to a session across the hall on “Effective Public Speaking Strategies”.
The “Effective Public Speaking Strategies” session, presented by Jody Janati, turned out to be pretty awesome, despite only catching the last half hour or so. Public speaking is one of those evergreen topics, meaning that no matter what your level of expertise there is always room for practice and improvement.
Tuesday ended with the Tim McGraw concert. I’m generally not a fan of country music. It was my first ever country concert, and I have to admit it wasn’t awful. Despite not knowing most of his songs, and generally not understanding this “thing called country music”, I had a great time.
First, I absolutely have to agree with Laurie Ruettimann when she says that some of the best sessions happen on the last day of a conference. There is a degree of freedom that comes with being one of the few that sticks it out to the end.
I caught the general session with Laura Bush and she provided some good insights about the importance of education and all kinds of updates about the Bush family, including W’s art.
The great stuff came from the two sessions I attended after that, the first with David Rittof on “10 Persuasive Communication Strategies”. Not only did David share great information, he put on a good show. He was funny and kept everyone laughing with stories that made his points. He made it easy to pay full attention at the very end of a loooooooong conference.
The second session I attended was on an area of HR that I want to learn more about – HR Technology. It was presented by Trish McFarlane and Steve Boese. They approached the topic with a good degree of wit, and went out of their way to answer everyone’s questions. They even deviated a bit from their planned presentation to ensure that everyone was on the same page. This is such an important area of HR, and as you can imagine, the attendees weren’t your typical HR fair. They were talking implementation schedules, third party agreements and cloud based systems, not having a seat at the table and business acumen. I’m tired.
This conference has wiped me out, but it has been a tremendous learning experience. It will take me weeks – WEEKS – to break down my notes and follow up on all the speaker recommendations.
I’m looking forward to it.
Note: I’m still planning to write a wrap up on “lessons learned” from the conference, most likely publishing Friday or Saturday.