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6 Things I Taught (and Learned) at Two Recent Conferences

6 Things I Taught (and Learned) at Two Recent Conferences

I’ve been on the stage a fair bit these last two weeks, with two big gigs in Toronto at the HRPA conference and in London at the Learning & Technologies conference. I’ve felt a little bit like a deep sea creature coming up to the surface, having been down in the dark so long working on the book and other more solo projects.

Fun sessions and great crowds. Here’s a few things I taught (and that I learned) along the way.

1. More Great Work doesn’t mean more work

It might seem odd to be talking about more Great Work in the context of managing the overwhelm, but it’s not about piling more onto your plate.

At the heart of Great Work is the clarity and courage to say No to more, so you can say Yes to fewer but better things.

2. The perfect opening question to a coaching conversation

Have you ever tried pineapple and soy sauce together? My friend Alice introduced it to me years ago, and it’s an unexpectedly delicious combination of flavours.

“What’s on your mind?” strikes a similarly delightful balance. It’s both open and quite focused at the same time. Pick anything … but pick the thing that matters.

3. Say hello

When you’re nervous before presenting, take some time to go around and chat to the people in the room.

It puts you and them at ease. You’re both reminded that the other party is a human being after all and wanting the best for everyone in the room.

4. Less is sometimes more

My HRPA session was two hours, my L&T one was an hour, both were in the afternoon of the final day of the conference. Perhaps it was me (see #5) but I think the HRPA session dipped a little towards the end.

It’s a reminder that 90 minutes is about the most that anyone can go without a good break. After that, it’s a pretty rapid loss of concentration as a tired and restless bums and brains take over.

5. You can present when you secretly want to die

I’m not talking about stage fright here. I’m talking about battling the same flu everyone else here seems to have. A combination of NeoCitran, Berocca B vitamins and adrenaline can carry you through almost anything…

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