Digging for court reporting conference goldAttending seminars for anyone, including court reporting firm owners, can seem like a chore – after you’ve done a few, a “been there, done that” mentality can easily take hold.  But if you listen with an open mind every time you attend an event, you will find a kernel of information that’s as good as finding gold.

Recently I was chair of a conference of court reporting firm owners who, quite rightly, have a high degree of expectation when it comes to their conference.  They not only have to take time away from their offices and usually fly to another destination, but they are paying hard earned dollars to do so.  They are looking for value – not just in the networking opportunities of the parties, lunches and dinners – but in the content of the seminars themselves, because being competitive in the court reporting industry means staying fresh, ahead of the crowd, and innovative.

During one of our seminars, we were placed at tables and not allowed to sit with our friends, and throughout the workshop we had to interact with the people at our table.  The takeaway?  I met four new people I might not have otherwise met.

During another exercise, I met a woman at another table – a first-timer at one our court reporting firm owner conferences.  She shared with me her opinions and thoughts about what was missing from the conference.  She was clearly disappointed and thought she was wasting her time.  What struck me about the conversation was her mindset:  after only one hour, it was closed.   So instead of defending the choice of speaker, I said, “You know, if you hadn’t been here today and doing this exercise, you and I wouldn’t have met.  To me, that’s a plus.  Now we know each other.  I can guarantee you the likelihood of you and I meeting otherwise at a large conference is very slim.  Now think about your table.  This is your first time here.  Today you’ve met another seven people in the court reporting field you wouldn’t have otherwise known.  This is your nugget, your takeaway if nothing else.”  She paused and thought about what I said, and agreed.  Her face changed.  Her body language changed.  She relaxed a little and smiled.

I don’t know what this person ultimately thought about the conference in its entirety, but it’s a shame if she didn’t take that nugget and use it for all its worth – for networking a job down the road, for seeking advice later, or just having comfort that at the next conference she attends, she’ll know some people.

There’s gold to be found in all our experiences.