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What Makes a Conference Great

Earlier this month I was lucky enough to attend my first Xerocon and let me tell you it was a life-changing experience. There were so many amazing things that happened – learning, new connections, amazing presenters and so much more. So I wanted to share my top 5 things that came out of my experience at Xerocon Atlanta 2018:

Genuine Positivity – walking in the door for the opening night kick off you could feel an energy in the room. At first I thought it was just me – you know as mom that feeling you get when you realize you only have to look after yourself for a few days 🙂 But slowly I realized it wasn’t that, every time you walked into a presentation, vendor areas, workshops and more – everyone was generally happy. Smiling, laughing and working – say what?! Our office is very positive and full of energy but to be able to see that there are many others out there who want the same thing in their work was amazing!

No Anxiety – this is a personal one for me, over the last couple of years I’ve been battling anxiety that was so severe at times I couldn’t go out alone. It has been getting easier for me but I wasn’t so sure about how I would feel in rooms full of strangers (which is why the above note on positivity is so important to me.) I felt like I’d found my “happy place” and this has really helped give me perspective on my past experiences.

Love of Learning – I love tech and let me tell you tech was everywhere. I was able to look at new options coming out from our current vendors as well as met a few new ones. Plus we had some eye-opening presentations from people who persevered through so much you couldn’t help but soak it all up and let it change you for the better (trust me I’m not exaggerating)

Seeing How Far We’ve Come – by meeting all sorts of new vendors and staff from other firms, I was extremely proud of our firm. We had lots of insight to offer and in some cases, we are further along in what we are building than we realize. It also reaffirmed why we are doing what we’re doing by talking to those who may be ahead of us. Plus the variety of tools and tech out there make the opportunities endless, that we can do anything.

Deep Conversations – it was time to get to know our vendors better and spend some time chatting outside of the “office”. It was mainly work talk but on a different level. Talking about what ifs, can we try this, are you able to do that, who can help and so many other great (and again positive) discussions that happened. “No we can’t” was never used – looking for possibilities was the only way we were all looking. Plus I was able to connect even more with my boss. Allison is amazing and we’ve known each other for a long time. This gave us an opportunity to talk about so many different topics and work projects it was not only productive we were able to learn more about each other.

Although those are not all the things I took away from Xerocon, these were outcomes I have never experienced at a conference (or even in my career) before. Kudos to all the staff, vendors, presenters and more who put this conference together. And a special shout out to Greg Kyte, their emcee, the best emcee I’ve ever seen.

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