When I returned to work from a conference, if there was any conversation at all about my time away it was often limited to, “How was the conference? Did you have fun? Was it well attended? ” This was courtesy conversation. I wasn’t asked to share in a meaningful way that supported the goals of the department or organization. Looking back, I longed for that opportunity.
Instead, I sought ways to create the opportunity to share and to seek out others who embraced learning with the same eager enthusiasm I carried to the conference. Without that, my engagement faded quickly. I wondered if those hours spent at the conference were really no more valuable than sitting through yet another meeting of all talk and no action.
As leaders, when we invest planning and coaching time as a pre-conference strategy it brings real value to the organization. Accountability for “conference deliverables” adds value in measurable ways. Providing opportunities for conference participants to share what they learned provides staff recognition. It makes them feel valued for their contribution back to the organization.
And, finally, back to my original doodle: Have we sacrificed networking with people for technology addiction?
If people aren’t going to network at conferences, why not stay home or at work and just do webinars and read books and online articles and blogs? I believe we are at risk if we don’t work with our staff to develop networking skills. Providing tools to guide behavior is one step in the right direction. We have a new generation of staff and rising leaders who are “technology natives.” We need to balance technology and face-to-face interactions, especially in an industry that serves people – patients and families.
When all heads are down engaged in smart phones, we miss crucial interactions that can teach so much.
Contributor: Diane Foster