Soaking Up vs. Giving Back

Retired Gen. Colin Powell @ SLAI have been thinking about how I am participating in this conference and how that is different from years past.  In 1992 at my first SLA conference, I diligently went to as many sessions as possible.  My goal was to learn, learn, learn and ensure that I returned back to my place of work with valuable information.  For several years, my modus operandi was to soak up what others were providing during their sessions and visit as many exhibitor booths as possible.  If my days went completely full, then I had failed.

In more recent years, I have continued to soak up information.  My days are still full, but not always because I'm attending every session possible.  Instead this "soaking up" occurs in a manageable number of sessions and during networking events (open houses) and committee meetings.  I am also now in a position to give back by giving workshops and presentations.  I'm among a wonderful group of people who are providing content that others need.

How are you participating in this conference?  Are you soaking up as much information as possible?  Are you now at a stage in your career where you can provide information, tips-and-techniques, and lessons learned to others?  Perhaps you're doing a bit of both?  Knowing that answer can help you as you plan your days.

By the way, if you are here just soaking in as much stuff as possible, know that one year you'll also find yourself providing content to an audience that cares about your viewpoint and knowledge.  I hope I'm in the audience for your debut!

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