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I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy! Tash

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Attending blogging events, live or recorded

This Friday and Saturday, about 300 bloggers will descend upon Melbourne to learn more about blogging at PBEvent  with Problogger Darren Rowse.

And I’m pleased to say I will be one of them.

Why go to a blogging event?

leanring ABC of blogging

Learning the basics of blogging – and more

I can’t speak for everyone, but I know I am going because

  1. it’s great to learn new things and conferences and seminars are a good learning experience (well, good ones are anyway!)
  2. it’s good to get away from my desk occasionally
  3. blogging is an important part of my business, and part that I really enjoy, so learning more about it is a good investment for me
  4. I like the idea of meeting other bloggers

Really, it’s just like going to any conference – the topic just happens to be blogging.

And PBEvent happens to be hosted by one of the best known bloggers in Australia. And is offering some great speakers and topics (you can see the schedule here if you’re interested).

How I learn  from events

When I go to any business event, one of my aims is to learn.

I think being open to new ideas and expecting to learn is a good starting point. Sometimes the best value from an event is the ideas it sparks so you need to be open to listening and learning.

Taking notes is one way I cement the information I hear. Traditionally that has meant writing notes in a notepad but obviously people have more options these days – I’m still inclined to write notes by hand as it works better at getting information into my mind.

To be honest, I often don’t read those notes again, and certainly not often. However, just the act of writing notes helps me retain the information better.

I also find that tweeting snippets of information is a great learning tool. By deciding something is valuable enough to share and putting into few words (I try for less than the allowed 140 characters) makes that point stronger for me. And hopefully it is providing value to my followers as well.

Tweeting information during a webinar is easy. I haven’t yet tried it at a live event but may give it a go during PBEvent.

If nothing else, I can reread my tweets afterwards as a reminder of some key information.

Live or recorded?

There are distinct advantages to live and recorded information sessions, I think.

Going to a live event obviously has the advantages of a new environment and networking with other people. It also means you can potentially interact with the speaker(s), ask questions and participate in the atmosphere. Sometimes you get additional opportunities, too, such as handouts, ‘conference only’ discounts and yummy food!

Listening to a recording of an event gives you more flexibility – you can hear it at whatever time suits you – and saves travelling time and expense. For information packed sessions, a recording also means you can pause and rewind the recording to catch important bits and make sure you understand things. For a poor sessions, it is also very easy to turn it off and get on with other things!

Which do you prefer? Have you tried both options?

I attend more webinars because of the convenience, but I like to attend some live events every year as well to interact with people.

Problogger Event

With the Problogger event, I get both as all sessions are being recorded so I can listen to them after the weekend. Which means I can relisten to important bits I missed but more importantly, I can hear the sessions I don’t attend (part of the weekend has two sessions running at the same time). And slide presentations will be included with the recordings, too.

The recordings are also available for non-attendees via a virtual ticket (which are being sold at a 25% discount until mid afternoon today Melbourne time I believe). You can grab a virtual ticket and get access to over 21 hours of blogging information plus a live Q and A sessions with Problogger next week (it is an affiliate link but I honestly think it is good value – and much cheaper than what I’ve paid to attend!)

And if you are going to Problogger event, or a similar event, you may enjoy the following preparation posts, too:

Blogging conferences and training events
10 things to do to prepare for PB Event 
Hot tips for Problogger ‘virgins’

Have you ever attended a blogging event? What did you get from it? And what tips have you got to share for those going to their first blogging conference?

Problogger event 2013 virtual tickets for 30 hours of training and learningUpdated September 2013: The 2013 Problogger conference is on again this month and you can choose to attend in person in Queensland (if you got a ticket fast enough!) or virtually (2013 recordings will available a short time after each sessions is run so you can listen on the conference weekend.) plus watching interactions on Twitter during sessions.

Allowing learning…

I read a blog post called Tilda Virtual Services is moving – again! and I was impressed enough to write an answering post, as well as leaving Kylie a comment!

The background is that Kylie started a VA business from home a few years ago. As things were going so well, she moved into an office earlier this year – a big step for her and an exciting one! After nearly 6 months, Kylie has decided to close the office and operate from home again.

 Kylie took a risk and left her comfort zone by moving into an office. In doing so, she was able to change her work habits (no more midnight work) and define work and family better.

What I found inspiring about this is that Kylie has realised she is better suited to work from her home office, and has set up her business so that doing so is still feasible. Instead of just accepting the office as what she ‘should’ do as a successful business or worrying that moving out after 6 months is a ‘failure’, Kylie is doing what is right for her.

So often people let themselves get stuck into a rut because they think it is expected of them or don’t want to admit a previous decision was wrong. But why not admit a decision wasn’t right, but was worth trying?

As Kylie said “If I didn’t, I would have wondered if moving out was the right thing to do and I wouldn’t have developed my good habits so I don’t regret it at all. Life is a series of learning experiences and this was another one of those.”

Taking a risk doesn’t mean closing off options – it just means giving something new a go and then deciding what to do with the new knowledge and skills you gain from the experience.

Have you ever taken a risk and then decided to go back to how something used to be?

Too ignorant to know…

For many people, knowing what they don’t know is just about impossible. These are the people whose behaviour led to the saying “A little knowledge is dangerous” as they don’t understand how little they really know.

Consider a young child who has just learnt that 2×3=6. That child will proudly tell you she knows what multiplication is and how to do it. Yet if you asked her 34×76, she would have no idea how to solve it. As adults, we expect her to have limited understanding and give her time to learn more about multiplication – and encourage her learning to date.

What is a bigger concern is adults who act like that child – they know a few things and assume that makes them an expert – and charge people as if they have an extensive knowledge. Or use their assumed knowledge as a basis for applying for jobs above their level.

I have dealt with suppliers who believe in their own expertise to the point they can’t admit any ignorance or lack of knowledge. They assume a superior attitude to their clients and tell them how to do things, even if they are wrong. And even argue with clients who suggest or request an alternative.

The hard part is in dealing with these people as they aren’t likely to listen enough to learn how little they truly know, or even recognise how much someone has been coaching and helping them.

In some situations, I have taken the time to lead someone towards a greater understanding – and sometimes they have accepted the new knowledge, too! Some tips I have found to be more effective are:

  • never patronise them – they don’t like it any more than the rest of us!
  • occasionally add in why you are doing or requesting something even if you are in the position of being able to tell them. For example, I may say something like “I didn’t include that example because it was negative and I think a positive example will be more effective”
  • maintain their self-esteem by asking questions to either help you or confirm your understanding. Remember that they will have some expert knowledge even if not as much as you want or need!
  • if providing them with resources or information that may help them learn, present it carefully. Instead of “here, you need to read this”, try “I found this article very interesting – what do you think of it?” or “I’m not sure I agree with this document – do you?” or even “I want to go to this seminar – would you mind coming with me in case it gets too technical for me to understand?”
  • put your expected answer in the question so they can be involved in decisions and learn from the process. For example, “I assume that the second quote is better because it includes delivery as well. Do you agree?” may work better than “Which quote should we choose?”

We all have things to learn – and usually the more we learn, the more we realise we have a lot more to learn! So we can hope that giving bits of extra information to an annoyingly ignorant person will lead them to an understanding of their own limitations!

Use your words wisely!

Personal or professional development

I remember some years ago, all employers had to provide training for all of their employees. Yes, some employers and employees didn’t take it seriously and some silly courses may have been undertaken, but I still like the concept of people constantly learning.

As an employer, training staff means they are learning and growing so will be able to their jobs better, and they will respect and value the fact that you care enough to provide such training.

Kylie at Tilda Virtual wrote about the importance of setting a training/development goal and sticking to it, and asked what our goals are in this area for 2008.

To be honest, I haven’t developed a training plan as such for myself. I am going to the Business Mums Conference in July, I read business blogs/magazines/blogs/articles when I can, and I look out at networking and other business events for ones that are relevant to me. Oh, and I am working towards my certificate IV in business (frontline management) and certificate IV in leadership support later in the year, although that has more to do with being a cub leader than a business owner!

Of course, the information I learn about each client, their business and sometimes their industry is development for me, too, but much harder to plan (who knows what industry my next new client will work in!) and not always directly transferable to other work I do.

But there has never been a rule that says business owners must provide training and development opportunities for themselves… And yet this is the group who probably has to cope with the largest number of tasks in different areas.

Kylie has me thinking now, so I will make some time to think of what skills I can and will develop this year. I know I won’t put a huge amount of time into training this year with a baby on the way, client work and family commitments!

How about you? Have you planned any personal development this year? Have you timetabled for it so it won’t slip aside when more urgent tasks arise?

I’m sure they start earlier…

Yesterday, we had the chance to look at the grade 1 classrooms our child may be in next year. We had time to wonder around and look at the children’s work and the provided posters on the walls.

It was interesting to see that they have learnt about adjectives, different writing styles (narrative, reporting, discussion, etc) and proofreading – I’m sure I didn’t know all that in grade 1!

I occasionally help a trainer with a communications module he teaches as part of a course, and I can tell you there are a lot of adults who don’t know what these grade 1 students are learning. Of course, I see many other examples as I read things in general, too.

Maybe we’ll have a very literate community in 30 years or so, or maybe it’s just our school setting a high standard. Either way, I’ll keep sharing writing and grammar tips here and in my newsletter in the hope of helping people use correct grammar – and parents stay up with their kids!