I make my living as a professional communicator, which means I have the honor of speaking with audiences at over 50 corporate, association and conference events each year. Whenever possible, I like to attend other sessions at these events – because I enjoy learning, and I also want to watch great speakers, so I can continue to grow and improve as a speaker myself.
Last year, I attended a conference breakout session led by a speaker with an impressive title. His bio listed many professional accomplishments and years of experience in a topic that I was very interested in learning more about. Even though his session was scheduled a few hours before my closing keynote, I made a point to get to the venue early in order to take advantage of the opportunity to learn from him.
Unfortunately, very quickly into the 75 minute session, it became clear that learning was going to be a challenge. Even though his professional experience and accomplishments related to the subject were impressive, the speaker conveyed zero excitement or passion for the findings of the case studies and research that he was sharing, and he didn’t seem to care at all about connecting with the the audience.
Pretty soon, in an effort to salvage the time investment as a learning opportunity, my note taking shifted towards capturing quotes and actions from the speaker that affected my ability to learn from him.