On arrival we were invited to input our registration code into a bank of touch screens (see prev post for photo) and collect our badges – this was a quick and easy process.
From here we had to walk around the closed exhibition area, up a flight of stairs to the gallery where pre-session coffee was being served. Looking over the gallery we could easily see the exhibiters making last minute adjustments to their stands. I don’t know who many stands fewer there were from last year, but the last time HRD was at Olympia it filled the main hall, the galleries and an upstairs smaller hall, this year it was contained all on the ground floor. A sign of the economic times?
Following on from previous years there are no plenary sessions at this conference so it is difficult to know the actual numbers of people attending, but there was a palpable buzz amongst conference visitors.
The first session I attended was Mee-Yan Chang-Judge on Organisational Development, and in particular on the needs and positioning of an OD plan
This lady is one of the most powerful communicators I have come across for some time. The session was run at over 200 miles per hour, In any other session I would have said the 50/60 slides would be death by powerpoint – but not in the hands and brain of Mee-Yan.
This was how to use powerpoint in a conference style setting – using them only as a visual aid.
Pausing only to take a breath and occasionally asking the audience “are you with me” before moving on faster and with more passion than before.
When I have had the opportunity to dissect my notes I will write a more comprehensive piece in the coming days – watch this space.
This was held on the main exhibition floor, with several of these “coffee stations” it was quick and easy to be served – unlike some conferences where you have to queue for a long time. This also meant that there was time to look at parts of the exhibition areas (good for exhibiters) as well as network.
For the first time I have attended a major conference I was surprised that no lunch was provided, whilst I know that this is a part of the economic downturn and cost saving activity 9like no conference bags etc – but we are used to that). For a ticket price of £1138 for two days (up slightly from last year £1163) you would have thought that a £5 day sandwich/ drink would have been included.
After hours Tweetup
This was an “informal” get together of HRD people active on twitter – or those that knew people active on Twitter. Around 20+ people attendes and went on for several hours and several beers! - search the Twitter stream for info.
I will post more reflective comments on the sessions later…must get ready to leave for day 2!... see you there?