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"Joe or Jane Schmo" or Who Presents?

Posted on June 28, 2006

What fun hearing the voices of colleagues talk about the learning styles, the "who" for meetings and the content. Thanks for weighing in on the issues so far.

Mark Jordan talked in his post about the content and how it is simply not known what people want to learn.  For as long as I've been in this [meetings/hospitality] industry, the same questions are asked (What do you want to learn? What do you need to know? What speakers do you want to hear?) and the same dilemmas faced: "What do senior planners want to learn?" 

What we want - which has been evident from the MIMList/now MiForum at Google - is help right now when we have to solve a problem.  What we want at meetings is to gain information we can use - or information that allows us to have our thoughts stimulated and the ability to consider the implications of what's been said.

We are the same as other audiences - and we all attend meetings for different reasons. Sometimes it's mandated (like a staff meeting) and the agenda is dictated.  Sometimes we have choices (like a professional society meeting.)  I'd be glad as would others to hear from Joe or Jane Schmo if they stimulated my thinking.  I'd sit in almost any seating too if I could be comfortable [which  has to be defined differently for each person] and could participate and learn.

There is the tricky issue for any meeting of presenting information that is relevant and that can be used immediately by those attending.  (Go to www.mpiweb.org and read the two MPI Foundation reports  about what makes meetings work and why people attend association meetings to learn more that is applicable.)  There are considerations about who the learners are and the mix of experiences.

Answers? None really.  More conversation? You betcha.  Tomorrow (Friday already? VNU ... can't we talk some more about this topic?) I'll give some examples of changes we can make.

In the meantime, continue to be aware of what turns you on and off in learning.  Watch the audiences who attend meetings in your facilities or are those who attend the meetings you plan. Watch audiences in theatres, at concerts, on TV - be aware of what goes on and the responses.  Take from outside our world to see how and who can present it differently.


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