Monday, February 15, 2010

How to Measure the Value of a Seminar

This item comes courtesy of a half-day seminar I attended this morning. To give you an idea of the full impact, I'll be prefacing all 13 items (!) based on today's notes with "VNT3" which is short for "Volume, notes, times, three", which is itself the topic of this item!

I'll explain.

You've been to a ½-day seminar. Registration 8:30 to 9:00; grab a coffee, a pastry, then try to shake hands with someone. Chat for ten minutes, swap cards, then sit down. Break at 10:30, more coffee, chat, swap, sit. At the end if you're lucky, chat, swap, got home.

Maybe you make notes. I do:

Relax, you don't need to read them, just to see that I have filled a page in my own curious shorthand and even more curious handwriting style.

So what?

The notes on the left are based, largely, on what was said during the presentation; notes on the right are ideas that popped into my head while the speaker carried on.

Both sides, left and right, are triggered by events that took place during those 3 hours in the ballroom. Add in one hour's travel each way, and we're looking at a five-hour investment of my time (" Management Measures ").

My notes, both columns, probably represent about 15 hours worth of stuff for me to wade through - not that I'll do it all -

"make a UW.DLL" is probably ten hours work, and I should just add it to a WhatFAQ list for an application.

"1/10 1 2 3 4 5 of 100" is a topic for a future blog item as are "can't predict the future?" and "be the last one to leave" and quite a few other notes.

"Rick: house sales" suggests that I put forward a demo Excel workbook showing Rick how we can predict the selling price of a house based on established prices of other houses.

And so on.

My point: You can measure the value of a seminar by comparing the cost (5 hours) to the number of hours of inspiration you derive from it, and that inspiration won't necessarily be related directly to the delivered material.

The "1 2 3 4 5"? I was counting up the number of Good Contacts I'd made at the seminar. Coffees and/or lunch down the road.

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