How do you “refuel your brain”? Do you attend at least one professional conference or trade show each year to keep up with current technologies and trends within your chosen profession or market? I hope so.
Recently I had the opportunity to attend the International Association of Facilitators North American Conference in Denver, Colorado (IAFNA 2011). The IAF is a global, all-volunteer organization. Details on the IAF mission, structure, and services are found at www.iaf-world.org
IAFNA 2011 is done and I now am looking forward to reading the proceedings of all the workshops I missed. Most of the attendees are now home, doing their laundry, and perhaps sorting through their notes, handouts, and promotional materials. By Monday the vast majority will be back at the office and/or looking to apply what we learned to our next facilitation gig.
For me the IAFNA 2011 Conference was a rich learning experience. From the opening ceremony and keynote to the last workshop on Friday afternoon, I can say that I was in a continual learning mode. I was a ‘sponge’ soaking up as many tidbits of knowledge and new insights as possible. By the time I said good bye to my conference buddies at the airport, I was exhausted. Saturated by the experience.
This year I was also a presenter of a workshop entitled: “The 5 Keys to Facilitation Mastery.” The images I used during my workshop can be found at www.prezi.com and located with the search term “IAFNA 2011”. This PREZI seemed to go over well with my audience. And from this experience I’m sharing below a bit of the feedback I received from the workshop evaluations.
Participant Evaluations (<– click here to see a bar chart which summarizes the evaluations)
Select comments from these participant evaluations include the following kind words:
- “Innovative and integrative offering with plenty of opportunity for personal reflection.”
- “One of the few presentations that has lived up to ‘reaching the next peak’.”
- “Great job! Loved the PREZI demo and good small group exercises. I like the rhythm of the presentation.”
- “John gives new tools and points the way to nurture our skills.”
- “The subject matter was excellent.”
- “John is a great motivator, fun to listen to, and quite knowledgeable.”
Yes, these are the POSITIVE comments. Upon reading these remarks, I was ecstatic. Now as for the NEGATIVE feedback, well …
Ken Blanchard, author of “The One-Minute Manager,” and other widely read books on management, calls feedback “the breakfast of champions.” Whereas the chart above shows some pretty good scores, I’m particularly glad that a few courageous folks came up to me after the workshop to explain (face-to-face) why they marked me lower than average. Such feedback can be tough to swallow. But I’m most appreciative of these individuals for their opinions will help make future presentations even better. I shall not reveal the name(s) of these brave souls. Let’s just call them “John” and “Joann.” Thanks.
Kudos to Ginger Adams and the IAF team who were absolutely superb hosts. Kudos to the volunteer members of educational program committee. And kudos to the staff of the Grand Hyatt. IAFNA 2012 is scheduled for Halifax, Nova Scotia in May. With a planning and luck in scheduling, perhaps I’ll see you there.