6 ways to turn #CommunityLIVE into a Zen experience

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My husband is a veterinarian. He takes great pride in how he communicates with the owners of his patients, spending extra time to make sure they clearly understand the diagnosis and treatment plan.

This is not always easy. Few of us were schooled in veterinary medicine. Even as a nurse, I am stunned at how little relevant information I possess when one of our dogs gets sick.

So as we all were preparing for CommunityLIVE, I was reminded of a story he told me a few years ago. A dog had presented with symptoms of congestive heart failure. Being someone who wants to share his knowledge and insight with pet owners, my Zen veterinarian husband brought out his plastic model of a heart and drew diagrams on a white board to make sure his client clearly understood what was happening to his dog and the diagnosis. He concluded by telling the owner he was recommending they start the dog on Lasix immediately.

His client responded by saying “We will do whatever you want, doc. But I do not understand how fixing his eyes is going to help.”

And he thought he had been so clear.

CommunityLIVE is packed full of information, some technical, some operational. Some of it may not be all that easy to understand. Don’t let that hold you back. And even though expert presenters lead our sessions, make sure to remember tip No. 1 below.

Six ways to get the most out of CommunityLIVE

Here are my six simple suggestions to help you get the most out of CommunityLIVE – actually, any conference.

1. Ask questions in the sessions you attend

Don’t be shy about questioning the speakers about points you’re especially interested in or would like clarified. Most speakers dread having disengaged audiences where they hear nothing but crickets. In fact, you’re actually doing the speakers a favor by asking questions – it make the session more interesting and engaging. If you have a question, I can virtually guarantee someone else does too. And there is nothing worse for a speaker to ask for questions and find a silent room.

After all, you don’t want to be like my husband’s client, clearly not comprehending the topic and unwilling to ask a question. Ask away!

2. Introduce yourself to the speaker

Look at the agenda and think about the people you would really like to get to know. Then introduce yourself.

If you are uncomfortable, ask anyone at Hyland to provide you an introduction. Ask if you can continue the conversation over lunch or coffee.

3. Put Away the smartphone and have a Zen moment

Believe me, I get it. Your emails are piling up and visions of email purgatory are circling your head. But here’s the thing – burying your head in your phone every free (or not free) minute costs you valuable networking time and you literally don’t even know what you are missing.

So while you don’t have to disconnect completely, put the phone away when you’re waiting for a workshop to begin or taking a break at the coffee bar, and give yourself a chance to strike up conversations with the other attendees around you.

Turn this into a Zen experience and be present throughout the conference. I guarantee you will enjoy it more.

4. Check out the sample agendas

If you have never attended CommunityLIVE before, it can be a bit overwhelming. More than 280 sessions, 15 concurrent tracks, and 3 networking events – YIKES!

Take advantage of the sample agendas and the downloadable agenda to help you plan your days. This will help you understand the conference themes, structure, organization and opportunities and will help you better navigate the event.

And download the OnBase event app from App Store. Let’s face it, the Gaylord is a big place. This will help keep you on schedule. The app is super convenient and an efficient way to navigate the conference. It is easy to use and will help you review important conference information as you move through sessions and events.

5. Condense every talk down to one key takeaway

The human body sends 11 million bits per second to the brain for processing, yet the conscious mind seems to be able to process only 50 bits per second. No wonder I can’t remember anything.

So after each presentation, ask yourself what struck you, what surprised you, what did you learn? Perhaps there was a specific tip that you could adapt in your own work – or some piece of counterintuitive advice that really resonated. If you write only one thing down, make it the one key take-away from each presentation that is worth additional consideration upon your return to the real world.

6. Thank your boss for allowing you to attend

Where I used to work, we had a saying – kiss up early and avoid the rush.

But really, tell your boss what you learned and express your gratitude for the time and funding that allowed you to attend. This will cement the idea that sending you to the conference was a good investment. You may find it easier to have professional development opportunities subsidized in the future.

That’s it. Do these six things, and you’ll turn into a Zen IT master.

Kate Barney

Kate Barney

Kate Barney is Hyland's marketing portfolio manager for the healthcare industry.

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