I went to a writing conference a few weeks ago and it was fine. I said hello to a number of people I know, and I got good ideas. But I’ve been having a more interesting time lately going to other people’s conferences — other professions, other industries.
This is honestly a major perk of being a professional speaker, and not one I’d really thought about. I go to conferences I would never attend otherwise, and I get to see what people in that profession care about and talk about, and the words they use. Dentists, lawyers, a large tech company, entrepreneurs, people in health care — just to list some recent ones. Everybody wants to work more efficiently, and have a life outside of work, though the tips need to be modified for people who spend all day in meetings (health care executives) vs. doing procedures (dentists). People generally laugh at the same jokes, though they laugh more when I am the second speech of the morning than when I am the first.
If you’re the post-lunch speaker, you’ll really need to work because people start out asleep.
It occurs to me that this variety is the same thing I like about journalism. I’m always learning something new. One thing I don’t like about journalism: the swag is less good at our conferences than those of better-funded industries. Not that you should take the swag. Have you ever attended a conference for a different industry?
In other news: I had a column in USA Today last week on gap years. Thanks for the interview suggestions people gave me!
Fun fact: In that link above about not taking the swag, it was actually Zondervan that was handing out books at BlogHer. That’s how I wound up with the Cold Tangerines style stuff. Oh, everything comes full circle.
In Fast Company this week: 7 secrets of people who get enough sleep.