20-Nov-2015 01:14

Speed dating palm springs

By Anne Rowe Professional conferences are peculiar gatherings.It took me two conferences to figure out that it’s not important whether your next session is in the Tango or Tierra room.

Nobody prepared me for this reality so I will try to save you some time with one tip as you prepare for the Western Museums Association (WMA) 2014 Annual Meeting in Las Vegas.Just keep in mind that the people next to and around you in sessions are not random people.You are all in the same industry and chose to attend the same session.The particular session has something to do with your jobs and therefore your careers, and therefore, your lives. I very much regret being slow to recognize the acceleration of collegial courtship inherent to professional conferences. For instance, while on a bus during the American Alliance of Museums 2011 Meeting in Houston on the way to an evening museum gathering I sat next to a brilliant millennial who created smart phone apps. I didn’t ask for his card and I still regret that today.He knew things like how long people engaged with apps in museums, how many layers they should have, and when an app was too involved and actually detracted from the visitor experience. I didn’t think that apps were a part of my universe. There have been a couple of times I could have won a cookie in a meeting if I only had his council in my toolbox.Once I understood the rules, though, I began to make incredible connections.

At a lunch at the WMA 2013 Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City, I met a woman from Santa Barbara and another woman from San Francisco.

I introduced myself to both and immediately discussed some ideas I had been thinking about for future exhibitions.

Here’s the tip: throw out your normal boundaries of social introduction when attending a conference. Here’s why: similar to speed dating, the hard part usually associated with meeting someone new is already behind you as your fellow attendees have similar interests to your own.

The space you occupy has been artificially populated with people who are, relative to the general public, just like you. This high-frequency opportunity to intersect with similar people is actually at the core, as opposed to a by-product, of why we organize conferences. When you attend a session (and having been on the 2014 Program Committee, I must say there are some great sessions at this year's meeting! I promise that the other person will be able to relate to what you are saying.

), do something you don’t normally do in a restaurant or at the movies: introduce yourself to the person next to you. Even if you speak to that person for a mere two minutes prior to the start of the session, I encourage you to ask for that person’s business card and give them yours. I guarantee you will be glad you have it when you get back to your desk.

At the very least, you might have a follow-up question about the session you attended.

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