We recently shared a snippet of a blog post that FOH and HOW speaker Jeni Herberger wrote in response to the question, “Why go to the HOW Conference, or any design event, for that matter?” In that first post, Jeni wrote about the valuable connections that can emerge when you’re thrown into a group of people who do what you do for a living and who share your creative worldview. In a new article, she writes about being open-minded when you attend a design event, about keeping your brain attuned to learning from others:
Don’t walk into sessions expecting ah-ha moments, miracles or perfection. Those do happen and every once in awhile you connect with what’s being said … The presenters are people just like you sharing ideas and experiences. It’s 100% up to you what you learn because EVERYONE has something to teach. Look past personalities, communication styles and personal views and be open-minded about what you can take away. Attendees often spend more time critiquing every element of a presentation than looking for their own personal take-away. Sorry folks, but it’s not up to the event staff or the presenter to force a take-away into your hands. It’s laid out on the stage like a gift and it’s up to you to walk up receive it and take it home with you.
Now, I realize that this idea — that learning is just as much the audience’s responsibility as it is the presenter’s — is a bit provocative. After all, people pay good money to attend a professional event. It’s always interesting to me that, on the (fairly rare) occasions when we hear grumbling about a particular HOW session, we also hear raves about that same session. We’re creative people; we respond differently to different sources of inspiration. What bores me may be the coolest thing you’ve ever seen or heard. It’s up to us, the people sitting in those rows of chairs, to extract what we can from the person who’s taken the time and made the effort to present.
Certainly food for thought as our team is preparing to develop next year’s conference programming.