Hi. My name is Micki and I’m a conference junkie.
Hello, Micki. (Must be said in monotone chorus by fellow junkies.)
Who are we kidding? There’d be nothing anonymous or monotonous about our meetings. Chances are we conference junkies would be all about welcoming anyone and everyone to come to our meetings. In case you couldn’t tell, I am a bit of a social butterfly. I wasn’t always like that. I always wanted to be part of the action, but in my teen years, I was afraid of saying something stupid. I obviously no longer have that fear, and believe me, I still say stupid stuff. Heck, for all I know, you read this blog just to see what stupid stuff I might say. 🙂
It doesn’t matter what kind of conference as long as it’s one that I have an interest in attending. See, you didn’t have to wait long for the stupid stuff. That sentence was a big fat, “DUH!” What I meant before my inner dialogue so rudely interrupted was that I have no interest in attending the (runs to look through hubby’s junk mail pile) “Comprehensive Training Course on Acupuncture for Physicians.” However, if I were a single gal, hoping to hook up with some doc and totally into that holistic medicine stuff, I’m thinking that conference might be worth my hard earned money. Or at least worth the cost of the hotel it is being hosted in.
This summer, as I did last summer, I will attend two conferences in July. One for my jewelry business and the Romance Writers of America annual conference. Both of them are large concentrations of women. Both of them will have workshops to help me succeed or improve my business/craft. Both will provide plenty of networking opportunities. And both pretty much have the same wardrobe requirements, though it’s not the end of the world if I leave my jewelry at home for the writer conference. I have met so many wonderful people through conferences. In fact, that’s where I first met our own Jillian Chantal!
In my former life as a high school teacher, I attended a couple of conferences. (I’m not talking about parent-teacher conferences. That’s just a meeting and lacks the fun factor of what I define as a conference.) Yes, math teachers can have fun. And no, we don’t sit around doing the Pythagorean Theorem…unless someone needs a drink from the bar and we’re calculating the fastest way to get there. Our guest speaker was a NASA astronaut on one of the space shuttle missions. He was extremely entertaining. One of the things I learned about and reported back to my students was how they go to the bathroom. Let’s just say X marks the spot and leave it at that.
As I was typing this, I realize the fun factor for me is as a conference attendee, not as an organizer. I am very appreciative of those wonderful people who work very hard to make sure I have an enjoyable time. Those dear souls have probably lost sleep, dealt with difficulties beyond my comprehension, stressed over budgets and who knows what else. (Jillian Chantal knows what else. She has been a conference coordinator and was a damn fine one too!) Believe me, there isn’t enough alcohol in the conference hotel bar to convince me to ever take on that responsibility.
One of my other favorite things about conferences? Since many of them have been held at a Marriott-owned property, I have earned several free nights to help pay for family vacations. (I do love my Marriott Rewards program. I wonder if we can get a corporate sponsorship for this blog.)
What have been your favorite or most memorable conference experiences?