Friday, 14 October 2011

All-day eventing

So... seminars, conferences and library events. These were something of a foreign concept to me until around this time last year, but the need to professional develop (and, latterly, fulfil Chartership objectives) has led me to clock up a fair few miles travelling the country to meet the gin-soaked, cat-hair-coated, knitting-obsessed, uniformly-lovely people which form our profession.

Lets begin by talking about networking. I've address this topic previously here, but as it forms a key part of attending events, it's worth briefly revisiting. To reprise my previously-stated position:
I've never been at my most comfortable in a room of strangers (who is?), and find it very difficult to 'cold' start a conversation. I'll confess, it is getting easier, partially through practice and partly because I have been to enough events that I'm starting to meet people for the second time, which can provide an 'in' to join a conversation and get to know more people. Face-to-face networking has also added considerably to my online networks, allowing me to add interesting attendees and speakers to Twitter for instance; in turn, I can now meet known tweeters in person and have several potential conversation starters [...]. I feel more comfortable networking with perceived peers, of a similar age or professional level to myself [...]. Overall, though, I definitely feel more comfortable 'working a room' than I did this time last year.
I decided to make it a Chartership objective to get out and about, to improve my confidence in group situations and form connections with other professionals (and, by extension, to widen my professional knowledge by learning about their experiences). Over the next year or so, I'm shooting to attend events on a wide range of topics and to get to different types of event than straight-up conferences. I'm hoping to get to events across a wider geographical spread,  although London events remain unlikely at this point due to travelling restrictions, the general expense of getting there and the arse-ache of getting up at 4am for a 10am start!

Where I've been for CPD over the last 12 months!
Speaking of money issues, I am limited in some ways in which events I can attend due to my current [non-professional] position, which does not really include access to a professional development budget. I can generally get paid professional-development leave for events with some relevance to my role (which I appreciate if any line managers are reading this!), though I've also used about 10 days of annual leave for various events and visits over the past 12 months. I've used the money which came with my MSc departmental prize to finance a few CPD events (such as the New Professionals Conference in June); however, this has all now been spent. Special Interest Group funding is something I'd like to explore in the next few months, but I guess the other option for getting to events for minimal cost is to be a speaker... I do want to present, but... I've got pretty wide but shallow professional interests and knowledge; furthermore, I feel a bit of an imposter when claiming to speak with authority. Does everyone feel like that (at least at first)? I guess so.

I tend to fall into the trap of taking quite a lot of notes at events, as well as trying to keep all my paperwork organised on the day. This somewhat removes me from the immediacy of what is being presented and going on around me, and impacts on the efficacy of my networking. I think I've got better at this, but still have a tendency to revert to passive 'student mode' when faced with someone pointing at a Powerpoint...

Lets close out by considering organising. When I started writing this post (nearly 6 weeks ago, when the task was new!) I would've said that this wasn't likely on the immediate horizon. However, following a discussion about the Chartership support groups which run in the West Midlands [under the auspices of their CDG branch] at an MCLIP workshop, it seemed a good idea to take the initiative and try to set one up for the East Midlands. @neko_nees and I discussed this yesterday, and agreed a November meetup might be best, so keep an eye on the usual LIS email lists! I also went along to the libcamp12 discussion session during Saturday's Library Camp, but don't feel I can realistically give the amount of time which large events require  (something that Jo McCausland was keen to stress) whilst working full-time.

No comments:

Post a Comment