Do your homework after the conference.

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Conferences, Higher Education, Recruitment, Research, Speaking, Thoughts | Posted on 11-19-2008


I was fortunate enough to hit up seven conferences and several more webinars in 2008. I met a ton of great people, was filled with many ideas, and really never got off ‘the conference high’ because of the timing of them all.  2008 has been a great year for me professionally.

But there is one thing I continue to see at conference after conference.

Someone stands up to present, gives fact/stats/thoughts/theory, and people write it down and take it for what it is.

Don’t do that!!!

Yes, conferences are GREAT opportunities to learn, and there has to be some data/research/basis behind the presentation. But, there is not a ‘one solution fits all’ out there.  What works for me at Butler might not work for you at your school.  The methods that they are having success with might not be your best option.  Their failures might be your greatest decision ever.

Conferences are great places to get ideas, but please… do your homework.  Take the time to get to know your students. Your recruiting region. Do a survey. Ask students when they visit.

You’ll be much better off, and your efforts will be more fruitful.

Comments posted (5)

1000% agree, Brad! Taking advice must always be done with a degree of caution. In a world where opinion can be shared more easily than ever, everyone must do their own review to ensure that the opinions equate to sound-advice.

Agreed. Great post to make people reflect on their own work.

What I always come back to when people ask for a solution or a new communication effort is ‘what’s the problem we are trying to solve, and why is this the best solution for that? what have we tried before, and why didnt it work?’. Sometimes, you keep repeating the same mistakes. If you dont know where you’ve been, you wont be able to see where you’re going.

Seven conferences?! I wish I had your travel budget…

Did you go to more general industry conferences like SXSW? What type of conference (or what specific con) did you find most beneficial?

Well, my travel budget isn’t exactly that big… I presented at them all, so often times my travel was compensated. Sometimes I slept on the floor of friends’ at the conference, and sometimes I paid out of pocket.

’09 is my goal to get to more ‘outside of higher ed’ conferences. I am speaking at SXSW and really looking forward to experiencing that. I found myself not being stretched as much towards the end of ’08; a lot of repeat content and thoughts.

PS – are you making a return? :) See the bottom of this post.

Ha! Yes, I got bit by the blogging bug again. Hopefully this time I can keep to it. I’m glad you got something out of it :)

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