Describe your ATD story and how you have been participating in the ATD International Conference & EXPO (speaker, delegation leader, and so forth):
I’m always a delegate first! Keen to learn and immerse myself in the conference, this year will be my fourth conference where I’ve contributed as a speaker and my second time as a delegate leader.
How did you feel when you first attended an ATD conference? What keeps you coming back?
The scale of an ATD conference can be overwhelming—and I was definitely overwhelmed at my first conference! In my mind, I break it down to one session at a time, one conversation at a time. I focus on what I can experience and learn. As I’m learning I’m thinking about what I can take back to my role and my clients.
I keep coming back because I enjoy the people I meet and the learning opportunities it provides! The ATD conference sets me up for the year. I have the opportunity to see what others are doing and gather ideas I can take back with me to Australia.
How do you network and make friends? What social media tools do you use to connect with people?
When I first started coming to the ATD conference, I always used to get involved in the Meet to Eat—where you go to dinner with learning colleagues you’ve never met. I also use the conference to connect with people I have met online and arrange to meet in person. Some such people have become firm friends.
During the breaks I try to stay off my device and chat with people, either as I arrive at a session or waiting outside. LinkedIn’s Find Nearby function is great for when you meet someone you immediately want to connect with online.
How would you advise others who want to become speakers for next year’s conference?
It’s important to remember that the call for speakers is early and starts in June—if you snooze, you lose! If you are a vendor, it’s always good to present a case study with a client. Think about where you can add value, particularly as an international visitor; my sense is that the ATD team wants to hear the “global voice”—so as an international community, let’s contribute!
What’s the best way to transfer the learning after you go back to your home country?
I could talk about this for hours . . . learning transfer is, after all, my life’s work! When you’re in a session, think about what you can apply when you leave. Determine the top things you will take away and prioritize what you can move forward with.
Partner with a colleague to share your ideas and help hold each other accountable. While you are here, set up a firm time for when you return home to reconnect and talk about your progress.
What is one suggestion you would like to give first-time ATD attendees?
Get your ticket for the Networking Night! I’ve attended with people I’ve met at the conference or as a delegation and I’ve met people on the bus on the way to the Networking Night. I love it. Don’t worry that you might not know people; you can get to know people.
ATD Global has organized several opportunities for international attendees to be recognized, learn with each other, network, and have fun! For instance, you can connect with Emma and other colleagues in the Global Village. And be sure to attend the International Orientation, an informative session for new and returning international attendees to network and learn how to get the most out of ATD 2019. Learn more here.