It’s been fun to write this series on personal growth. I’ve never written about it until now, but have had a lot of help from some books and resources that have helped me to get to this point. No matter what you for your personal growth, whether it is some of the things I am sharing in this blog, or other things that you know work for you, the important thing is that we do it.
Leaders are learners. As soon as they stop learning, they stop leading.
One of the ways I love to learn best is going to conferences and seminars. I love having the opportunity to gather with other leaders and learners to listen and dialogue to some of the best speakers in the country of whatever the topic is. Some of the conferences I have attended over the years are:
- National Conference on Catholic Youth Ministry (NCCYM): Youth ministry is my passion, along with leadership, so I try to attend this conference every time it happens.
- Simply Youth Ministry Conference (SYMC): Again, another youth ministry conference. What is great about this conference is that it has provided me a different perspective from Catholic youth ministry, which has helped greatly.
- Religious Education Congress: great conference on pretty much everything Catholic.
- John Maxwell Seminar: One of my favorite seminars I have taking, it was a day long seminar on John Maxwell’s book, The 360 Leader. There were only about 15 of us in the room, but it was powerful!
- Constant Contact Email Marketing: I attended a small workshop on how to use email marketing more effectively. It was really helpful for my ministry.
When I go to a conference, I don’t learn as much if I don’t try to actively engage in the experience. One way I engage in the conference is really simple: take. Sometimes I don’t know where my notes will take me, but it gives me some ideas that I need to consider writing and speaking on.
I also like to meet the speaker and ask some engaging follow up questions. I’m amazed that there usually is never a long line to meet and talk with the speaker after the workshop. I find this is a great time to go into further depth on something they said that I had more interest and questions on.
Warning: Some people say that I should sit in the front row of every conference and training I go to. They say I learn better and am more engaged. This is a true statement. However, at big conferences, I only do this if I know it is a workshop that I’m going to be totally interested in. Sometimes I experiment and try a speaker or topic that I’m not sure about. If that’s the case, I often sit somewhere in the middle (or even the back) of the room. I have no qualms with leaving early if I find I am not getting something out of the workshop. I jokingly (but seriously) say I have a 15-minute rule: if I don’t get something of value out of the workshop within 15 minutes, I will leave. There are usually plenty of other workshops I can check out.
What conferences and seminars do you attend?
What are some specific things you do to be more engaged in the conference?