Conferences: Share with me, don’t talk at me

Last week I attended the AACSB Building B-School Symposium in Scottsdale, Arizona. This conference was different than most. Besides it being exclusively for higher education communicators and development folks (the people who ask for donations), 60% of it was simply sharing best practices.

Each participant was asked to fill out a questionnaire before hand and was notified of each session’s topics. There were only 25 people in the communicators track. The AACSB asked participants to come prepared and this model for a conference worked effectively.

I’ve attended other conferences where you would sit from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. for three days of constant sessions and keynoters. I would write down information and want to discuss it with others in the room, but there would never be time because you would always have to keep moving to the next session if you wanted to get a good seat.

Sharing best and worst practices with other people in your industry is priceless. More conferences should allow an extended period of time for this advanced sharing and networking.

*According to Wikipedia, symposium originally referred to a drinking party. Of course we had a “reception” at the symposium.

2 Responses to “Conferences: Share with me, don’t talk at me”

  1. Tracy Mueller - November 10th, 2009

    Totally agree, Brian. While the formal presentations were very helpful, I found the networking and connecting with peers at this conference invaluable. I loved learning how other schools are staffed, their approach to challenges unique to our field and their success stories.

    I also appreciated the Web site critique. What a great way to get instant, thoughtful feedback from a large group of qualified people. I’m reporting on the conference to my team tomorrow, and I’m so eager to share what I learned!

    [Reply]

    BrianCamen Reply:

    Tracy,

    It was so nice to meet you last week. The networking and connecting was the best. Being able to communicate about best practices with other people who do the same thing you do really is invaluable.

    [Reply]

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