I attended my first blogging conference over the weekend, NorthernVoice 2010. I had heard about this fabulous conference from previous attendees, everyone saying that you had to sign up early to make the attendee list or the conference would sell out ASAP. I did just that. I called Jeff from a day at Squamish rock climbing and insisted that he get online to sign me up for the conference. With his help I enrolled and got the early bird special (I love it when you sign up for things early and get the discount).
Going into the conference I had no expectations. I am currently in the midst of transition, starting my new job as of June 1, so I feel free to do what I please versus attending conferences with the anticipation of having to report back to a team and attending sessions that may be relevant to work. For someone who is very structured this comes as a huge relief when attending a conference, as I sometimes have a sense of guilt if I don’t attend sessions that actually relate to my work. (That’s a whole different blog post though).
What I loved about NorthernVoice 2010 was that each session I attended was authentic, honest, and REAL. The presenters spoke directly from their experience. Each presenter blogs and is a strong storyteller so the presentations were engaging and seemed to fly by. In some cases there were NO Powerpoint presentations! The keynote speakers were forced to stand in front of an audience sans-PowerPoint and there was something so real and refreshing about their presentations. No crutches.
One of my favorite presentations was Finding your Inner Voice by Monica Hamburg and Dave Olson. It was funny, engaging, and told an incredible story, one that each person could relate to. Dave wasn’t able to make the session so he sent in a video. When they were setting up the video I honestly thought “Oh man, I should bail out of this now and just get in line early for lunch.” I really wasn’t expecting much from a video presentation. Fortunately I decided to stay. Here is Dave Olson’s video.
So if you watched this video, which I hope you have, you probably thought it was pretty frackin’ hysterical and creative. I, like Dave, loved writing stories as a kid and I loved art work. My mom set up a special room for us in our home where my sister and I could sit at our art table and work on any project we wanted. She had an art box for us full of glitter (a parent’s worst nightmare), scissors, glue, construction paper, paints, markers, stencils, and pencils. As long as we cleaned the art table after crafting we were able to create anything we wanted. Our laundry room was converted into our art gallery. Random drawings and paintings were taped onto the laundry room cupboards and strung along the ceiling. Dave Olson’s video reminded me that of my art room and art box, I honestly had forgotten about it, or perhaps just haven’t thought about it in such a long time.
Thanks to NorthernVoice 2010. for introducing me to some people cool peeps out there and giving me the opportunity to sit back, listen, and engage in incredible storytelling.