An important question to ask at a conference.

DSCN2574Having just checked my Twitter timeline I’m seeing lots of tweets from colleagues attending the College of Occupational  Therapists annual conference in Brighton. Pictures of sunny blue skies and the sea, ( I’m sure someone is attending workshops) and lots of happy pictures of people standing beside their posters, receiving awards, giving presentations and of Ruby Wax delivering one of the keynotes.

So much going on and so much to do! Conferences are a fantastic way of developing networks, making connections and extending thinking. Of breathing life back into you and energising and connecting with the heart language of your profession. If you are heading off to a conference, any conference, before you throw yourself into the whirl of workshops, poster sessions and socialising what kind of preparation do you do each day? Check the timetable, make plans for meeting up with people……..

It is so easy for the time to fly by catching up with friends and old colleagues, being tempted to attend the sessions they are attending rather than being Billy no mates and going to a session on your own. The late nights of socilaising up might make that early morning session you were intending to go to feel like a bit of a challenge and conference fatigue might make the lure of the early train home feel tempting.

So here is a question to ask yourself at the start of each new conference day? Rather than what do I want to do how about……..How do I want to BE at conference?

Why? Because the answer to this question with frame your day and your experience. Do I want to be energised, corageous; curious; reflective, challenging; sociable; full of life, creative………..

Before you head off for the day spend a few minutes getting in touch with that way of being. Take yourself to a ‘peak experience’ a time in your life when you felt that way and relive it. Where were you, what were you doing, how did it feel? Were you on your own or were others with you? In being this way what were you saying yes to? Really connect with how it felt.

And then take that feeling with you to conference and live it. Maybe being brave or courageous for you means having the confidence to ask the question you really want to ask but feel nervous about. Maybe it’s about standing up and giving your first ever presentation. Perhaps being sociable means putting down your mobile and talking to the people sitting next to you.

Give it a try and for those of you in Brighton however you are being – have a fabulous day!


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