Conference Learning

Monday Buzz: You May Not Know What You Think You Know

A conference pro speaks out against "the illusion of knowing." Plus: How to handle a conversation with someone who can't pay what they owe.

We’ve all been to a conference session that promises to teach solutions to all of our association problems with a bundle of tips and tricks, possibly presented as a Top 10 list or using some other a catchy framing device. As popular as those sessions may be, is this method of learning really effective?

Conference and adult learning expert Jeff Hurt writes in a post for Velvet Chainsaw Consulting’s Midcourse Corrections blog that these sessions lead to “the illusion of knowing.”

“Passing out tips and great ideas to an audience feels great. And our audience loves it. We feel proud that we met their needs. But did we really meet their needs?” Hurt asks, noting that research shows attendees need a deeper understanding of how and why the tips and ideas work.

So how do you meet your audience’s needs? Hurt believes you would better serve those needs by getting attendees out of the learning fast lane.

“Authentic transformational learning creates a deep understanding of the underlying issue. Then we can adapt and apply the learning to our own context,” he writes. “When the path is harder and slower, it may feel less productive but it actually is just the opposite.”

Don’t get us wrong, tips have value (after all, we have some highlighted below). But they are just a part of the more extensive learning experience that will, with time and effort, benefit your members.

Tweet of the Day

We’ve covered some schools of thought about public speaking in the past and how to prepare speakers for their presentations. Marcus Sheridan’s advice above is another useful tidbit for those looking to avoid eye-rolls at the beginning of a session.

Other Good Reads

“Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” But what are the keys to delivering positive, constructive feedback? Management expert Peter Economy presents three essentials for constructive criticism in an Inc. magazine post.

Ever had to deal with a customer, client, or member who couldn’t meet his or her financial obligations? Fred Warmbier, who owns Finishing Technology, Inc., writes about how he handled a precarious discussion with a client unable to pay in a piece for The New York Times‘ You’re the Boss blog. His biggest takeaway from the experience? “I cannot control the behavior of our customers, but I can control our behavior, my behavior.”

Outcomes management: What is it, and is your association familiar with its benefits? For the Nonprofit Technology Network, Rem Hoffman, CEO of Exponent Partners, takes a informative look at the difference between outcomes management and performance management and lists three steps to getting your outcomes-focused tracking endeavor off the ground.

(Digital Vision/ThinkStock)

Morgan Little

By Morgan Little

Morgan Little is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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