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ASTD Conference

Last Thursday I went to the ASTD-TCC conference in St. Paul. Apparently ASTD stands for Workplace Learning and Performance. (For the record, I don't approve of acronyms that STAND FOR NOTHING). It is a professional organization for people who do staff training.

I was pretty excited for this conference, the keystone of my professional development this year. And it started out with a bang. There was coffee and the best blueberry muffin. Ever. The first keynote was a guy talking about interpersonal styles (Scott Schwefel of the Insights program). I took the 25 question quiz and was totally surprised when it described me to a T. The U offers a similar thing, What's my Type? (scroll down on the page) for $34, in case you are curious!

I went to several break-outs, and to be honest, only one of them was any good at all. I hate that about conferences. Each break-out time had EIGHT choices so it is extra sad when you end up in a bad one. You had seven other choices! Gah!

One break-out I went to mentioned how the most used skill set of a professional executive is their interpersonal skills. But, they pointed out, almost no staff development goes into interpersonal skill building. I was relieved to remember we at least had one session at Program Conference about conflict management. And there are these from the U HR department.

Another session was on teambuilding, and I thought it was very interesting although I didn't see myself doing any teambuilding workshops anytime in the future. The speakers recommended what looked like a great book, Influencer, with lots of examples of how to make large and small scale changes. Here is the book description:

"Everyone wants to be an influencer. We all want to learn how to help ourselves and others change behavior. And yet, in spite of the fact that we routinely attempt to do everything from lose weight to improve quality at work, few of us have more than one or two ideas about how to exert influence. For the first time, Influencer brings together the breakthrough strategies of contemporary influence masters. By drawing from the skills of hundreds of successful influencers and combining them with five decades of the best social science research, Influencer shares eight powerful principles for changing behaviors--principles almost anyone can apply to change almost anything."

OK, so now that I know my type, which is basically "wishy washy socialite," maybe this book isn't for me. But I'm sure it could be useful to some of you persuasive types!

In the middle of all this, daycare calls to tell me both of my kids are sick. I call my husband and dispatch him to go get them, since I really want to go to the last session "Put some GO in your Goals" because I am very eager to get freshly motivated.

Well it was such a terrible cliche of a session, I figure that will teach me to put work above family. sheesh.

So, overall, not a great conference, but I picked up a few gems. And it was good networking time with my two Extension colleagues who went. We got fired up about staff training. Now let's do it!