Obsessed with conferences

Hey, meeting planners! Yes, you, you know who you are. Are you obsessed with conferences?

Well…hopefully not to the same extent as George Meyer.obsessed with conferences

Speedboats have been a lifelong diversion. Scotch, a serious problem. Yet no vice bedevils me like my one desperate fixation, my shameful ravening itch: I simply must attend conferences.
George Meyer, My Undoing: Obsessed with conferences, The New Yorker, May 28, 2007

Of course, every good meeting planner is fixated on the details of the events we plan. We consider the minutest aspects of the logistics and every minute of the run of show. We strive to ensure flawless execution, which involves anticipating and planning for everything that might throw a wrench into the proceedings. But we do this because we want the best for our clients, culminating in a successful event. Ultimately, this is a form of love, not obsession.

Back to Meyer, who was clearly ahead of his time, writing in 2007:

“There are times when a man’s soul is so battered, so hopelessly trampled, that the only balm is a teleconference … or two, or three. Where is the shame in this? The French do it.”

For more laughs, check out the entire article for Meyer’s additional confessions about his fixations on seminars, panel discussions, powwows, roundtables, off-sites, and symposia.

So, are meeting planners obsessed with conferences? Yes, but in a good way, out of love for what we do bringing people together to experience something important and, perhaps, wonderful.

Wisdom from International Facilitation Week!

International Facilitation Week Gosh, how could I have overlooked International Facilitation Week? (Dontcha know, there’s a minute, hour, day, week, month, or year for everything these days.) Luckily it’s not too late to share the latest crop of fine facilitation wisdom from the mysterious Shit FacilitatorsSay (profile: “I facilitate groups. But really, I’m just holding the space”; location: “A Circle of Chairs Near You.”)

Here are some recent favorites:

That’s all for International Facilitation Week! See you next year!

Six Events At The Facilitator Olympics

Did you know that facilitators have their own Olympics too? Here are six events at the facilitator Olympics you may not be aware of…

Events At The Facilitator Olympics

Also, here’s a bonus cartoon that illustrates the esteem in which facilitators are held.

Perhaps you know of additional events at the facilitator Olympics? So feel free to share them in the comments!

With thanks to @ShitFacilitator (whose profile reads “I facilitate groups. But really, I’m just holding the space.”)

Image courtesy of Rob Cottingham under a CC license

The internet is running out of…stuff

internet running out of stuff ad-70507_1920 The day we’d hoped would never come is finally here.

The Internet is running out of … stuff.

After years of not turning off the Internet when you shower and Internetting a little too long when you brush your teeth, we’re now at something of a crossroads.

Data reservoirs are at record lows, and we’ve already dipped into our emergency meme supply. I’m not sure how much more plainly I can say this, but there are dark days ahead for the information superhighway.

It’s not too late to change things – but we must take measures to protect what little remains of this precious resource.

If your street address ends in an even number, try to use the Internet only on Sundays and Thursdays. If it ends in an odd number, try Tuesdays and Saturdays.

When you’re connected to the Internet, try to limit your use to 15 minutes per site, per day.

The sad truth is – these measures may not be enough. If we don’t get more Internet soon, guess what’s going to come out of your Internet tubes when you turn on the power?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Let’s do what we can now to ensure an Internet full of stuff for our children and our children’s children.



[No, I didn’t write “the internet is running out of stuff” but I feel it deserves a wider audience than just the readers of the Dreamhost newsletter, which I only receive because this very website is hosted on Dreamhost’s fine sturdy shoulders. Or head. Forearms? Whatever.]

Knowledge … you’ve come a long way, baby!

Do conference sessions have to be serious to be authoritative? Must sharing knowledge be a dull affair?

There was a time when the wisdom was that a speaker should start with a joke to relax his (invariably his) audience. Thereafter, relaxation achieved, the remainder of the talk would be deadly serious, saturating the audience with the extent and depth of his knowledge.

There was a time when knowledge came in encyclopedias and was communicated by the pronouncements of authorities. It was essentially immutable, occasionally updated, a reassuringly solid basis for our worldview.

Or so we believed.

Today we are starting to see that learning no longer resides neatly in our books, computers or brains as a discrete collection of clear, unambiguous facts and theories. Learning has become a networked multi-brain entity, born in the gestalt of a group not an individual. And, charmingly, as David Weinberger says, it has taken on a quintessential human characteristic.

Knowledge has lightened up.

Here’s David:

“…the only knowledge that is dead serious is in the posts that emulate prior forms. The article in an online scientific journal is likely to be very much like articles in printed scientific journals, but the post on the same topic perhaps by the same scientist on her blog is far more likely to exhibit a light touch.

…the humor of knowledge does something far more important than the trivial quip itself. It announces that the author and the reader have something more in common than their interest in the topic under discussion. It says that knowledge is not enough, that knowing is a human activity, and that humans are embedded in a shared context that is always far wider than that of any particular topic…

…Knowledge is funny on the Web because humor expresses the truth about the world within which knowledge makes sense, and the truth about the inevitable humanity of knowledge itself.”
—David Weinberger, KMWorld Magazine, Why is the Web so funny?

Humorizing learning humanizes it, and we should celebrate this truth. Knowledge is no longer something that can be shoved into discrete categories and made subservient to our theories about the world. Rather, it has been liberated, finally able to take its rightful place as an integral component of human culture.

Knowledge…you’ve come a long way, baby!