So only 20 days to go until Learning Live and I have to say I’m very excited about speaking there. I’ve been to a fair number of conferences over the last few years and have listened to people who I look up to, have been inspired by and aspire to be like.

The first conference I went to was Learning Technologies 2008, it was at this conference I listened to Jane Hart give a presentation on using social networks in the workplace. I am not exaggerating when I say this presentation changed my career as a Learning Professional and to some extent my life. I would not be speaking at Learning Live or have done the things I’ve done in the last four years without sitting in on this presentation. I was inspired to go and do something different, I was inspired to take action and I’ve not looked back since.

A little known fact was that my first speaking ‘gig’ would have been at Learning Technologies 2010. I had been asked by Don Taylor to give a talk entitled “Innovating with existing tools” and I had agreed enthusiastically and appeared in the glossy brochure and on the website. Sadly the organisation where I worked at the time didn’t agree this was a fantastic opportunity and decided to stop me from being involved at a very late stage. Needless to say this caused great embarrassment for me and I also felt bad for Don as it left him with little time to get a replacement. Professional credibility and reputation is of great importance to me and this whole episode is not something I look back on fondly.

Anyway back to the happy times and two years on the opportunity has arisen to speak again. At least you know I’m consistent, it’s just taken me a little bit longer…..for those of you who know me you will know how much I appreciate and the importance I place on the opportunity.

Why though?

Why the desire to speak at a conference or event?

  • Is it vanity?
  • Is it a desire to be in the spotlight?
  • Do I need some sort of acceptance or acknowledgement from the L&D community?
  • Is it fame I seek?

Well you could argue it’s a little bit of all the above and I wouldn’t disagree. The first time I graced the stage was in an amateur dramatics production of a Sound of Music when I was 10yrs old. Many years later I found myself performing in front of 15,000 people at Earls Court as my alter ego MC LayZ. I like performing, even though I’m self-conscious and it makes me nervous as hell, I enjoy doing it.

I’m looking at Learning Live as a performance, I won’t be singing or rapping but I will be talking about something that excites me and something I passionately believe in. That is the reason why I want to talk at conferences so I can share the things I’ve done and hopefully inspire others to go and take action and do things differently. Just like Jane did with me 4 years ago.

I’ve got a 30 minute slot on the second day to tell a story and I’ve been thinking a lot about how to approach it prompted by a post from @SukhPabial. You can read it here #HRD11 – Conference planning, the post was written during the 2011 HRD conference but I think some (if not most) of the things discussed are still relevant for any conference.

The bit that has been making me think is this section about style of presentations

*checks calendar* 8th April 2011. What’s that? We’re no longer restricted to PowerPoint as a delivery format you say? We’ve moved beyond the flipchart? Pull the other one! I didn’t see one Prezi, pecha kucha, or any other style of presentation. And we’re meant to be the leaders of information delivery? And we’re meant to be the ones who know everything there is to know about presentations? Attending the various sessions, you really wouldn’t think so.

Plenty to think about then. Do I steer clear of PowerPoint and use Prezi or do I do a Pecha Kucha? A time slot of 30 minutes isn’t long and will fly by so a Pecha Kucha would be useful as I could tell quite a detailed story in only 6 minutes leaving time for plenty of questions and even a brew.

Decisions, decisions, decisions….

I’m going to throw some ideas out and discuss some of the themes from the session on this blog over the next three weeks and if you are attending Learning Live on the 13th September you can catch my session at 15.45-16.15

It’s got the catchy title of Using Live Online Learning For Organisational Collaboration

I hope to see you there