ROSES for the WOMBAT: Yvonne’s Top 10 A+ Things about the WOMMA Conference in Florida:
10. Location, location, location. Traveling to the sunshine of Florida from the gloom and doom of Upstate NY was a real treat! Colorado Springs was…just okay. Sorry. The long walk to and from my room on the hard concret hurt my feet, but I know most attendees reveled in the great weather and the Disney focus. (Okay, I need to see a podiatrist...)
9. The diversity of the presenters and the attendees. That goes to more than the titles of the people there – it goes to the division of gender - there were LOTS of ladies - and to the personalities – it was one big party, with a purpose.
7. Good food! Breakfast was high on carbs but the snack table was fantastic! Bananas, oranges, apples, juice, and yogurt - nice change from the donuts and muffins everyone else puts out.
6. Live blogging! That’s all the rage, I know, but these bloggers were outstanding! And friendly as well as professional. Their posts had personality. (only ONE was a good friend, though all THREE are good friends, now!)
5. Having more than 3 stalls in the ladies’ rooms! WOW! A resort that understands women…I was amazed! And yet, I still had to wait in line, because there were so many women there…a testament to the power of word of mouth.
4. Presentations that actually gave relevant examples! No double-talk or business-speak. This was down-to-earth explanation…and advice.
3. Mingling…I noticed a lot of people introducing themselves, at the tables during presentations and in the hallways. I’ll bet folks left with lots of new friends. Michael D. Moore: please call or write! My dog wants to meet you!
2. Being able to put faces to names. Meeting Dana VanDen Heuvel, John Moore, Steve Rubel, Marianne Richmond, Michael Rubin, and Jackie Huba (who I did not get to meet, more’s the pity for me!)
1. And the #1 fabulous, best of all thing I loved about the WOMBAT: FREE BOOKS!
Dandelions for the WOMBAT: Yvonne’s Top 10 Weeds that Need Pulling before the next show
10. Spotty wi-fi. Come on, now. Wi-fi should be available, it should be included in the conference cost, and it should work. We’re Internet savvy folks – we want working wi-fi!
9. Fun trip my foot! All the promotion about Coronado Springs and all the fun we were going to have at dinner the first night…was hype. The resort was a resort, nothing special. The weather was great, but…dinner was…dinner, outdoors. The fun was in meeting new folks, which we would have done regardless.
8. Lame hand-outs. I understand the conference planners were trying to be nice…but, black and white prints of color powerpoints, in type so small you need a magnifying glass to read it…just doesn’t cut it. Leave them out next time. We’ll download them online when they're posted, thanks.
7. BAD powerpoint presentations! I only saw a couple…but, obviously, those who had the nerve to make their audience sit through slide after slide of bulleted points…AND then had to READ them out loud, need to go to powerpoint school. Check out Cliff Akinson’s blog for reference sake.
6. The lame luncheon workshop. I heard a lot of people say afterwards that they just kept chatting. WOMMA, if your feedback form says this was time well spent – someone is lying. Personally, I felt as if you were picking my brain…stealing some of my creativity, for free. JMHO
5. Too much to absorb in too short of a time! We’re not robots…give us a break! The rush here and rush there and try to fit as much as possible in the shortest amount of time leaves one feeling frazzled and worn out. Where’s the benefit in that??
4. Where was the new FEMALE executive director? I wanted to see her front and center. She needed to be out front pressing palms. I’ve heard enough about her, for gosh sakes, now I want to see her, and I want to interview her. Where is she? Or, does she really exist? Hmmm?
3. No moderators at the panel discussions. Moderators are a great tool to help move the discussion along and make sure the audience is engaged. Yeah, engaged! That was what this was all about…wasn’t it? Let me see, "Don’t interrupt me. Engage me." Yeah, I’m pretty sure I heard that while I was there. Moderators could have helped create that engagement.
2. Speaker rooms where the presenters and speakers could escape for awhile to practice or review their presentation. Professionals would have used it sparingly – others might have hidden in there until after they went live. It could have been a great resource for the less-practiced speakers to ask help or advice from the more experienced ones.
1. Not enough audience interaction – because you didn’t plan enough time for Q&A. It wasn’t the speakers or the presenters faults…it was the organizers fault! Puh-lease! The Q & A is THE best part of the event. Say, you should talk to Matt Homann over at the [non]billable hour. He and Dennis Kennedy know how to run a conference where everybody wins. They’ll set you straight. I hear they're available to help plan your next event in the open space style.
That's all, folks. A good conference, that I know will continue to get better and better, cause those of us who support WOMMA will make it so!