Conferences – Are you there to learn, schmooze, or chill?



20100123-don-nelson-3, originally uploaded by djbelc01.

The HR Capitalist recently wrote a post titled Conference Session Attendance and Who Really Matters. He used a picture of Don Nelson because: 1 – Nellie was just released by the Warriors. (As a tacit Warriors fan, I can’t help but have a soft spot for him.) 2 – Nellie is a gym rat who’s dedicated to learning.

What’s that about? Well, the HR Capitalist uses this as the intro to conference attendees, likening Nellie to those who stake out the good seats, and are actually dedicated to learning. You know the sort, they plan ahead, go to sessions of value, listen intently, want to learn.

Then you have the people who sit in the back (or sometimes front)… they sort of pay attention, but they also spend a lot of time on their phone or laptop. They’re there, but not fully. I’ll admit to being guilty of this on more than one occasion. Some of it’s fatigue, some of it’s boredom, some of it is scoring the next place to schmooze. Though really, if it’s all about the networking, skip the session and lobby con.

The third type is the person who sort of attends a handful of sessions, puts in an appearance, but then goes out and vacations/sightsees/whatever. This is only truly odious if work is paying for it. Conferences aren’t vacation.

The post resonated with me because I’m still not fully cognizant of the fact that I’m going to IL2010 this year. I mean, I have a hotel and I’m registered, but I haven’t even looked at who’s presenting. I will probably be a schmoozer, but hopefully not. The real thing is, maybe the lesson is to pick better conferences? IL isn’t pushing my buttons, maybe something else would help energize me to learn and teach me something I can bring back to my library. (It should be noted, I’m way psyched for TRB already. I think that’s a given.)

One thought on “Conferences – Are you there to learn, schmooze, or chill?

  1. I will say the pre-conference sessions were the best thing about Internet Librarian, last time I went.

    What was Berkeley’s InfoCamp like?

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