Making the Most of Your Conference Experience

Senior Housing Forum
February 22, 2016

Periodically I have written posts regarding making the most of your time when you go to conferences. One of the blog sites I have forwarded to me each day is the Senior Housing Forum by Steve Moran. I met Steve at last year’s Senior Living Innovation Forum which is hosted by the Influence Group. At this forum which is structure more like a retreat, Steve participated in several panel discussions as moderator. Take a look at “Making the Most of Your NIC Spring Conference Experience” for several ideas he shares regarding attending conferences and getting the most from your time and effort.

Previous Posts:

Becoming a “Conference Commando”

Conference Commando #2

Conference Commando – Revisited

“Feelings follow actions. So when you don’t really want to or feel like doing what needs to be done – do it and then you will feel like doing it”

     – Zig Ziglar


Yesterday’s post ” Why Create and Contribute? “, February 21, 2016, talked about finding more meaningful things to do than veg’ing out on the couch. Here is a recommendation for working through that habit and establishing better habits through action.



Did you choose any good habits to replace your bad habits? Like my TV watching.

Would replacing “feeling like” with actions help you with that process?

Why Create and Contribute?

Time for some TVI recently unpacked some materials received for the coming Leadercast 2016 which I am hosting. In this shipment was the most recent book written by one of my favorite thought leader Seth Godin. The title What To Do When It’s Your Turn grabbed me immediately so I just had to do a quick flip though the book before performing a thorough reading.

Filled with thought provoking pictures and bold headlines the following words jumped out at me. HOW MUCH DO YOU GET PAID TO WATCH TV?  You see I have been spending entirely too much time veg’ing out in front of the TV, too tired and needing to chill out rather than doing anything worth while instead.

On the facing page was an equally grabbing half page snippet regarding creating and contributing, noting that our attitude toward these endeavors had sadly changes. Since Seth is the one known for his words and not me, here in his words:

“Sometimes people ask why they should create or contribute if they’re not going to get paid for it. They hesitate to write a novel if no publisher will pay them for it, and they sneer at the mere amateur who does what he does for love, not for money.

We’ve commercialized all the things that used to be passions. You’re supposed to get paid to be a sculptor or a golfer, a writer or an impresario, the creator of projects.

And if we’re getting paid for these intellectual pursuits, then we’re taught we ought to treat them the way workers in the industrialized world have been trained to treat their jobs – with distain, with an awareness that we ought to do less foe more. What a shame, what a foolish way to dishonor our humanity.

Instead, just for a moment, imagine what would happen if we decided to create and connect merely because we love it. It turns out that acting as if we love it creates the environment where that might actually happen.”

I hope this brief snippet is enough to turn my counterproductive use of time veg’ing out in front of the TV. Is it enough for you?





What will you replace your non productive time with?

My partial list:

  • Spend quality time with my wife and family.

  • Volunteer to do something for church or non profit.

  • Reading a book from my long list of “get to sometime.”

  • Study to become better versed in my profession.

  • Write a blog, whether to post or not.

  • Follow the writings or podcasts of the thought leaders I follow.

  • Exercise.

What To Do When It's Your Turn (and it's always your turn)
Seth Godin
Domino Project

Walking a Tightrope over Niagara Falls

A Lesson in Faith - The Charles Blondin Story

As part of today’s sermon our pastor shared this story of faith. It is a reminder that there is faith and there is FAITH.

A Lesson in Faith – The Charles Blondin Story

— Author unknown

The amazing story of Charles Blondin, a famous French tightrope walker, is a wonderful illustration of what true faith is.

Blondin’s greatest fame came on September 14, 1860, when he became the first person to cross a tightrope stretched 1,100 feet (over a quarter of a mile) across the mighty Niagara Falls. People from both Canada and America came from miles away to see this great feat.

He walked across, 160 feet above the falls, several times… each time with a different daring feat – once in a sack, on stilts, on a bicycle, in the dark, and blindfolded. One time he even carried a stove and cooked an omelet in the middle of the rope!

A large crowd gathered and the buzz of excitement ran along both sides of the river bank. The crowd “Oohed and Aahed!” as Blondin carefully walked across – one dangerous step after another – pushing a wheelbarrow holding a sack of potatoes.

Then a one point, he asked for the participation of a volunteer. Upon reaching the other side, the crowd’s applause was louder than the roar of the falls!

Blondin suddenly stopped and addressed his audience: “Do you believe I can carry a person across in this wheelbarrow?”

The crowd enthusiastically yelled, “Yes! You are the greatest tightrope walker in the world. We believe!”

“Okay,” said Blondin, “Who wants to get into the wheelbarrow.”

As far as the Blondin story goes, no one did at the time!

This unique story illustrates a real life picture of what faith actually is. The crowd watched these daring feats. They said they believed. But… their actions proved they truly did not believe.

Similarly, it is one thing for us to say we believe in God. However, it’s true faith when we believe God and put our faith and trust in His Son, Jesus Christ.


Note: In August of 1859, Blondin’s manager, Harry Colcord, did ride on Blondin’s back across the Falls.




How deep is your faith?


A Lesson in Faith - The Charles Blondin Story
Author unknown

Powerful Inspirational true story…Don’t give up!

When you don’t give up..You cannot fail!!
I want to say a BIG thank you to ‘everyone’ who has commented on the inspiration that they’ve received from this video. When I put this video together I was following my heart to inspire ‘Whoever’ might be discouraged to… “Not Give Up!”


Scoring the winning points at a basketball game


“Leadership is diving for the loose ball, getting the crowd involved, getting other players involved.

Its being able to take it as well as dish it out.

That’s the only way you’re going to get respect from the players.


– Larry Bird

People Management

next step loading concept

You’ve Got the Right Players, Now What?

Practice 1: Elevate HR to a position of power and primacy in the organization, and make sure HR people have the special qualities to help managers build leaders and careers.

Practice 2: Use a rigorous, non bureaucratic evaluation system, monitored for integrity with the same intensity as Sarbanes-Oxley Act compliance.

Practice 3: Creative effective mechanism – read: money, recognition, and training – to motivate and retain.

Practice 4: Face straight into charged relationships – with unions, stars, sliders, and disrupters.

Practice 5. Fight gravity, and instead of taking the middle 70 percent for granted, treat them like the heart and soul of the organization.

Practice 6. Design the org chart to be as flat as possible, with blindingly clear reporting relationships and responsibilities.

…These six practices take time, that’s true. But companies are not buildings, machines, or technologies. They are people.

Besides managing them, what work matters more?


Winning, by Jack Welch with Suzy Welch

Jack Welch with Suzy Welch
Harper Collins
Hard Cover

Learning From Military Spit & Polish?

Preparation pays off in the long run.

Have you ever started out to make a point and come to a totally different conclusion instead? I had that happen to me as I began to draft a lesson from my time in the military. At first I intended to make a connection between what is called military bearing in the services and professional presence in professional life.

Of course this would be a pretty easy comparison of the spit and polish and the way soldiers are expected to present themselves and similar expectations of professionals if they expect to excel. Instead as I began to visualize the story line, I accidentally storied another favorite leadership point. That is if you put in the proper preparation time up front, you will reap the benefits later.

Black Leather Army Boots on white background

Although all members of the service receive their initial introduction to the military’s expectations for maintaining equipment and self in basic training, this training is brought to the next level in Officer Training (OCS). Having spent nine years as a “field soldier” I was not looking forward to life at a state military academy.

The spit and polish of both combat boots and dress shoes (low quarters), polishing of brass and meticulous removal of the smallest thread (ropes) from uniforms became the OCD like activity of everyone. Of course no matter how much time was spent, gig free inspections were impossible. At least until many iterations of polishing and endless touch ups accompanied by the necessary attention to detail was acquired.

Eventually, it all began to click. Less time was needed to add additional layers of wax, polish, or find that one hiding thread (rope). At this point during the day that one little cloth kept in the pocket could be expertly used to touch up a scuff or tarnished spot, a match or cigarette lighter would reduce that thread. At that point all the preparation work was rewarded by making the ongoing maintenance easy or at least look that way.

How does that translate to our professional life? Of course the same if not quite OCD approach to our cloths and appearance is to be expected. We may not receive a promotion for looking sharp but we sure can miss out on one if we are not capable of maintaining a professional look. It adds positively to our professional presence. But another point can also be made. If you do your preparation work consistently it will pay off and make it easier, or appear to be easier at some critical point.

Just as in OCS, once prepared, boots would require just a quick touch up. In the same way notes put together regarding a project or data reviewed and highlighted provided the foundation of preparation. With this foundation, questions can be fielded as a professional with subject matter expertise. What on the back side may have taken much preparation (dependent on your experience or training), looks easy to those you interact with.

Personal examples have proved themselves numerous times. As with the meticulously maintained boots, there have been times when adequate time was not available to polish dress shoes. The previous time spent on this tasked allowed for a quick touch up with a cloth or brush to put them back in top condition.

The same is true for the preparation for meetings. I like to make myself notes of information to be discussed at the meeting, particularly if I anticipate questions or if I am responsible for a topic.

Although these notes are intended to be able to be used a cheat notes, referenced if necessary, in most cases they become unnecessary. The process of organizing and reviewing the information, written or typed up is enough to imprint them to memory. They are now available to use at the meeting without reference providing the of a knowledgeable professional ready to purposefully contribute to the group.

When this routine is followed to the point of it becoming habit, when time does not allow for the full process to be followed, a quick “touch up” is all that is required.

If you do not already have a similar routine, try it. Then continue until the routine becomes habit. You will be glad you did.


Which areas of you professional work could benefit by long term preparation and study?

Which shorter term areas (meetings or future discussions) would benefit from preparation before time?

Knowing the potential upside, are you willing to put in the additional work?


“You can map out a fight plan, but when the action starts, it may not go the way you planned, and you’re down to your reflexes – which means training. That’s where your roadwork shows. If you cheated on that in the dark of the morning, well, you’re getting found out now under the bright lights.”         – Joe Frazier