Breaking the Conference Enthusiasm-Cynicism Cycle

Conferences are a great place to reignite/rekindle the passion for one’s job.  Not only are the speakers passionate, inspirational, and engaging, but they also often have straightforward and concrete ideas for how to get real work done better and easier.  There is a positive knowledge and attitude transference that takes place and true feelings that “those are really good ideas,” “they did it and so can we,” and “let’s go home and implement that.”

But just as easy as it is to get fired up and excited to try new ideas, it can be just as easy to fall back into old patterns of behavior.  Those positive feelings diffuse, dissipate, and attenuate.  What is quickly learned can be just as quickly and easily forgotten when not put into active practice.

But is there some way to break this Enthusiasm-Cynicism cycle? Is there some way to move from learning toward changing? It is the classic problem of how do you go from learning anything toward really changing behavior.

Here is just one idea/suggestion where conferences are concerned. That real change as a result of attending a conference is possible, but it takes more effort than simply attending a conference. The people who were sent to the conference must be prepared to put in some effort when they get back. To repay their organizations that sent them, the attendees should be compelled to give their own presentations when they get back. In these they should provide a quick abstract of the most important things they learned (i.e. not just a raw dump of everything, but a few, most useful things to them). Then they should suggest at least three (3) things that their organizations should change as a result.  From this can flow a group consensus, a plan for change, concrete tasks, and some agreed-upon vision for getting the typical organization inertia moving and transforming.

Then maybe the next time that conference comes along next year, you’ll remember some of the positive changes and concrete by-products that resulted from last time and feel even better about the investment.

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