This year I decided not to put in a proposal to speak at the NLP Conference, instead I wanted to give something back. This is the first year the ANLP have hosted this major International Conference and I wanted to help make it a success so I volunteered my services.
One of the most interesting things I have been involved in so far has been as part of the sub-committee selecting speakers for the programme. I was really impressed with the range of presentation topics and particularly all the new speakers coming forward.
There have however been some challenges. Firstly, many people insisted that they could only offer 180 minute sessions. I was disappointed with the lack of flexibility shown by some. In putting on a conference shorter slots make so much more sense. It allows attendees to experience a range of presenters and not be limited to just a few. For this reason we took a decision to limit the number of 180 slots.
The second challenge was with regard to the request for short videos to see the speakers in action. This was vital as we have a responsibility to ensure that we are offering speakers of great quality. We tried to be as flexible as possible ourselves by searching the internet for examples before requesting clips. Many trainers, particularly the experienced ones were happy to send us links to sessions however one or two people seemed reluctant to do so.
The committee created a set of criteria for acceptance of speakers and so unfortunately we sometimes had to say “no” to some promising speakers who were unwilling to be flexible or provide videos. It was a real eye opener to me to discover just how much work, effort and complexity there is in putting on a conference of this size.
So for those of you interested in presenting next year, and let us all remember speaking at a major conference is good for your profile, here are some tips:
- First be flexible, after all isn’t this an underlying quality we look for in NLP?
- Be prepared to deliver a session of varying lengths, tailor your material accordingly.
- Make sure you record yourself regularly presenting workshops etc. That way you will be able to find a suitable video to send to the conference committee.
- Choose topics that are a bit different and that will add new content.
- Remember, from now on the Conference is targeting NLP students, practitioners and trainers. While people new to NLP will be welcome our aim is to provide a Conference that is enriching to the field.
- Be kind to the committee, most will be volunteers doing their best and those employed by the ANLP are providing a service that we as a community need. After all without the ANLP this conference would not be happening.
by Melody Cheal, Msc Applied Positive Psychology & NLP Master Trainer