Creating Community at Conferences

March 10, 2010 at 12:27 am | Posted in Megan's Blogs, Speaking Engagements | Leave a comment
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The past few days, we’ve been at the Community Resource Alliance (CRA) Conference: In Such a Time as This…Responding Wisely in Difficult Times held in Durham, NC. It felt familiar to be working on displays, printing literature and packing a supply box for the exhibit. I hadn’t realized that it had been almost five years since I had organized a trade show display. Before moving to Raleigh and working as a contracted writer, I organized trade shows for a manufacturing company in Alabama for almost seven years.

The difference: the conference Barton showcased Blooming Lotus Coaching, his life coaching practice. I also began speaking about my transition into the connection between writing and wellness. Over the weekend, while we were working on preparations for our display, I realized how much I missed working at trade shows. I was able to use my skills to bring all the tools and materials we would need, and being able to work on something that we are so passionate about makes it even more enjoyable.

When I worked organizing corporate trade shows, leads were talked about quite a bit, first with the number of people coming into a booth, then qualifying those leads that would turn into actual sales.

What was so wonderful about being at the CRA Conference with Barton is that it did not matter how many people stopped by our table. What was more important was who stopped by our table, and the depth of the conversations we were able to have in our space. Sometimes I would repeat what Barton said, but more often than not, I didn’t need to. I had great fun seeing Barton’s excitement about this new angle to his work, and how he communicated that joy to those around him.

In addition, we spoke in a panel discussion about self-advocacy alongside several other local leaders in the community. Afterwards, I realized I had spoken more than I thought I would as I reflected on how self-advocacy has been important, not just in my work with Barton or being married to Barton, but for each of us individually as well. I have found that the more I am able to speak up about what is and isn’t working efficiently, whether it’s in our community, at work, at home, our voices can break through limitations and obstacles.

What I love about speaking on a panel are listening to the other stories that people have to tell, the experiences in their lives may be so different and so similar to my own. Each one of us has a story to tell!

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