Do you know the feeling you get after attending a great session? You leave with so many ideas you feel like you might burst with excitement but also that your head is swimming with where to begin. This is an ideal time for a small conversation that can lead to big changes. Often we try to rush off to another session when it might be more valuable to stop and chat with another attendee. You both received the same information through a different set of eyes and perspective; sharing and conversing can give you both a way to see the application in what you learned. Not only did you have a shared experience, but your differing previous experiences allow you to sift through things in distinct ways creating more ideas between the two of you. This is a great opportunity to bounce ideas or share reactions, and to create a connection point for future conversation.
Unplanned and spontaneous interactions not only give an opportunity to synthesize information and bounce ideas, but can also open our eyes to a different perspective. So next time you are at a conference or professional development, push yourself to step out of your comfort zone or miss a part of a planned activity. Try one of these ideas:
- strike up a conversation with the person next to you in your session
- linger at the end of a session and chat with the presenter or another participant
- sit quietly and reflect on what you’ve learned and how you can apply it
- attend a scheduled social event
- ask a neighbor to join you for lunch
You never know who you will meet or what you will gain!