Monday, June 01, 2009

#ASTD09 Day 1 Thoughts, Day 2 Prep



Happily found one batch of cushy chairs in this convention center. I have a fantastic view of the Starbucks. Thankfully, I'm a local, so I found the one caddy-corner to the convention center. MUCH smaller line :')

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That's another thing about being a local at a large conference. It's like being a commuter student at a large university. There are certain social things you miss out on because of other obligations at home. I know I will be lying on the floor sweating wishing I was drinking beer at the Dubliner with Cammy, Dave F and the rest. The things we do for better health. Sigh.......

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I was VERY impressed with the quality of yesterday's sessions. 2 of the 3 made real and successful efforts to engage the audience and make them participate in exercises.

Ms. Ogiso, in particular, surprised me with her ability to engage and control the audience - despite her very strong Japanese accent and the differnce in cultural background between her and the majority of the audience.

Why did her presentation work so well?
- Very focused exercises.
- Very tight time limits.
- Repetition. What the exercise is, how it will be done, the time limit, the purpose. Repeat before starting. Repeat twice afterwards.
- Debrief

The ITS tool itself struck me as a collection of re-packaged brainstorming techniques. Business consultants are good at repackaging ideas to make them sound complicated and new. That's why they make the big money.

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Dr. Kaplan's presentation followed a very similar pattern to Ms. Ogiso's
- Very focused exercises
- Very tight time limits
- Repetition / Introduction
- Debrief

The big additions here
- Colorful graphics (so tempting to make them zombies....)
- Physical activity. Mostly of the stand up/sit down variety. I had managed to scope a chair, so it wasn't that big a deal. The other 3 people I teamed with got quite a workout. :' )

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BTW - I did not take pictures of the workbook because I donated my copy to Stephen from Unilever UK.

Amazing to hear how people got into this industry. He used to be a professional BREWER! Changed fields when everything automated in the UK beer industry - wiping out 19% of the workforcce.

Rachel, one of our partners, asked if he still brews beer at home. His response reflects the curse of professionals who do fun stuff for a living everywhere:

Nah, I can never get the same quality at home. There are certain tools I had come to rely on that I just can't replicate. I'd rather drink out.


I ran into the same problem when I worked part time as a winery guide. My palate started getting picky and I started over-analyzing what I was drinking. Thankfully, I'm over it and will now happily drink anything better than Franzia (trust me, there are MUCH better box wines these days...).

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BTW - if there happen to be any ASTD folks from out of town reading this, here are Wendy's food recommendations.

Everything is out the Mount Vernon Square entrance. The L street entrance gets you into a sketchy neighborhood pretty fast.

If you walk a few blocks down 9th street - in the direction you exited the building
- Left on H street takes you to Capital City BBQ (serviceable if you are a BBQ hound)

- On your walk down 9th street, you will also see Oya (asian fusion) and Zatinya (nouveau Meditteranean). Jaleo is further down on 7th and E (Nouveau spanish). These are part of the Jose Andres collection of restaurants. A bit trendy-hipster, but awesome food and drinks. If you are on an expense account, go to any of these places.

- 7th and F Street takes you to Rosa Mexicano (highly recommend the Guac and Margaritas)

- If you are hankering for chain restaurants - cruise the strip between F and H street on 7th to get your fill of Chain restaurants.

- Out the Mount Vernon Square entrance and turn right. Follow K street to 1101 K you will see Brasserie Beck. Killer fries and a HUGE selection of belgian ale. For those into seafood - any of the mussel platters are a fantastic value and some of the best prepared mussels I've had anywhere.

Hope this helps......

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