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Presenting is PD!

September 16, 2021

Conference Presenter – Professional Development Opportunity for YOU!

When you’re making a list of professional development opportunities for yourself, consider adding conference presenter as a possibility! Growth comes when we push ourselves beyond our comfort zones – leading a workshop is a great example of this. You can improve your:

  • Knowledge on a topic by diving in deeply and organizing your thoughts in a way that can be shared with others.
  • Comfort in front of groups – speaking and body language, adapting to your audience, and even cracking jokes!
  • Organization and planning by having to prepare and practice your session.
  • Technology and facilitation skills.

You may say, What could I possibly be considered an expert on? or Public speaking terrifies me!

But on the flip side, you’ve also thought to yourself during a session, Hey, I could do that! or I have something great I could add to this conversation.?

So, right now, I’d encourage you to take two minutes and jot down a few ideas of things you feel capable of sharing with your peers. Does anything pop up that excites you? There’s your idea for a session! You’ll need to finesse it a bit and come up with some structure and learning objectives to make it a full proposal, but see, the seed is already there.

If you’re not already convinced, before you dismiss the idea, just hear me out:

  • Many conferences, the New England Camp Conference included, look to bring in new speakers every year, so you won’t be alone.
  • Industry practitioners, like you, often have first-hand knowledge of the needs in the field, so you have a unique perspective that is really valuable to your colleagues.
  • Conference organizers provide support for speakers. We want your session to be successful – for you and for attendees. Have an idea you want to talk through? Call me! Get accepted, but aren’t sure if a certain idea will resonate with the typical attendees? Call me!
  • You don’t have to go it alone. Many great sessions have co-speakers, so find a friend and jump in together!

So, if you have been thinking about submitting a proposal for an upcoming conference (shameless plug for our 2022 New England Camp Conference, we are accepting submissions through October 15), I would say now is a great time. Don’t be intimidated; give it a try and you could add conference speaker to your toolbox (and resume).

Kerry Salvo

Kerry plans our annual New England Camp Conference and our other educational and professional development offerings. Originally from Portland, ME, Kerry has worked for Camp Fire North Shore, City Year Boston, the YMCA of Southern Maine, and the Portland Public Schools. Kerry holds an Ed.M. in Education Policy and Management from Harvard University, a B.A. in Sociology and French from Boston College and is a proud AmeriCorps*VISTA alumna. In her spare time, Kerry enjoys jogging, Zumba, doing crossword puzzles, and spending time with her nieces and nephew!

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