Whenever I think of professional development I think of some form of training that is going to include me having to sit, listen and watch. There is always someone talking, reading or clicking a gadget making slides move on a huge screen. All of which, as I recollect, reasons that I don’t attend a lot of conferences as a participant.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of workshops and conferences that are very productive, interesting and purposeful, we are not talking about these. We are strictly talking about the ones that make you sit and wonder why you are there in the first place.
Today, as I received the call that I have been waiting for, another invitation to be a conference workshop speaker, I thought about some of the things that conference speakers do that make professional development seem like work. I mean really, the purpose of a conference and the workshops are to provide an environment of professional growth, hence the term “professional development”. However, can we really grow when we are being bored to death, talked at and talked over? I thought about this seriously today because although I am a public speaker and I like to teach and train, I would also like to develop professionally and I don’t want anyone to feel this way about me :-). Understand that it is very flattering to have a conference request your presence year after year. However, what about those that are not ever asked to return? What are some of the reasons why? This is what I was thinking :-).
I also thought about conference attendees, why are there some conferences that people attend every year, and some you see once and never again? True, there are various reasons such as the economy, budget, availability etc. Let’s just say that these are not an issue. What are some reasons that participants do not return?
So, my question for you is: What are some of the reasons that you have not participated in a conference more than once? What was your experience?