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Monday, May 5, 2014

(Almost, quasi, kinda-sorta) Live Blogging - ASTD 2014

Preface:  I am attending the annual conference for the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) this week, being held in Washington, DC.  Because I simply just can't enjoy the experience (that would be far too easy), I'm also going to write some updates throughout the three days.  I'm not sure how I will end up publishing this stuff; my gut tells me to write during the day and publish in the evening.  Regardless, these kinds of things almost always make for great blogging content.  Writing about the event also serves a more practical purpose for me in that it allows me to stay in my self-imposed introvert hole.

The above well noted, here I go...

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7:35am - Waiting with a thousand other people to hear Arianna Huffington tell us about redefining success. This reminds me of why I am glad to be tall: it would really stink to be buried in this sea of people; being able to see above the crowd is strangely comforting.

7:52am - Finally seated and I am in the third row from the stage. In the world of journalism wonks Ms Huffington is a rock star which puts me in some kind of nerdy  nirvana.

10:00am - Dear ASTD, If you tell me that all sessions are open, then I will assume that all sessions are in fact open. Somehow my 10am session was not, in fact, open and that somehow I was supposed to register for it in advance.  Since I don't believe in clairvoyance, pre-registration was not possible.  Sincerely, Steve Albert.

11:00am - I have to remember not to register my mild annoyance at things to the 18 year old information booth attendants.  The last time I heard "I am sorry" that much I was 8 and was late for supper.

11:40am - Arianna Huffington's key note address was really just a shameless plugging of her latest book, "Thrive".  I will should also note "highly effective" after the word "shameless", as I did in fact buy the book.  In other news, I have to commend the conference organizers and the conference center staff, as everyone here is exceedingly helpful and polite.  This is a good thing, given the thousands of trainers that are permeating the hallways.  Now getting ready for a noon session, which the previously referenced 18 year old swears to me really, truly will be an open session. 

12:46pm - The federal government has either created or is involved in 3,456 different websites to help people find jobs.  Or so it seems.  I wonder if there isn't room for a single "go here for to find a job" website.  Anyway, there are a ton of resources out there for job seekers.  I wonder though how many people actually know about these resources.  Oh, and I really need to update my resume.  Now it's time to spend an hour and a half immersed in the 70/20/10 framework, something near and dear (for real) to my heart.  This is one of those things that I really wish someone would have told me about 14 years ago.

2:41pm - Just finished the session on the 70|20|10 model.  Now if you have never heard of the 70|20|10 model, have no fear, for I will not try to explain it here.  Suffice to say I found it to be very interesting, and my mental gears are turning in all manner of directions trying to figure out how to spread this gospel to the folks that need it most:  leaders that should be developing others.  Credit to the facilitator, Charles Jennings, for actually keeping me interested and engaged for over an hour.  You can read more about this at .

2:50pm - Waiting for the next session, "Coaching with the brain in mind" to begin.  The speaker is David Rock, who is a fairly well known guy when it comes to brain-stuff.  One of his books, "Quiet Leadership" was recommended to me a few years ago; depending how the session goes, I may need to actually read it.  Note that I am one for one in the "speaker selling books" department.

4:19pm - David Rock was too much to process at 3pm, although I am hoping that getting the material after the fact will help with my "insight" (read one of his books to get what I just noted).  Now I am waiting for the final session of the day for me to begin, this one dealing with leadership training.  

5:40pm - After the ball.  If David Rock was flying slightly above my head (all be it in a very zig-zaggy way), my final learning was definitely under my head.  Think "games trainers play" kind of stuff.  I did admire the energy of the presenter, as doing his act at 4pm is certainly tough.  In the end though it simply wasn't what I wanted or needed.  No bother, as I am now in a local grew house kind of restaurant (ironic, as I don't drink beer), waiting for a simple pizza kind of thing to come out for dinner.  From there it's back to the room to work on a personal initiative of sorts.  

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Post Script:  I am tired, but not overwhelmed, and that is a good thing.  Going into this I confess a certain degree of nervousness.  My last conference experience was a long time ago...think mid-late 90's...and it was an unmitigated disaster.  How much of a disaster?  Well that would be a "chewed out by he president of the company" disaster, which is another story for another day.  

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