Valencia will be my 4th Worldwide Conference — I was strong-armed to apply to speak at the Prague conference, the start of my habit. After Budapest, I was a card-carrying member of the fan club. I began to actively recruit new addicts as co-chair of Vienna in 2016. It’s an escalating condition, as you can see. I’ll be feeding my addiction to great ideas, as well as great coffee, in Valencia. Here’s why.
1. Fantastic networking
I’ve met great people at every event, and heard people speak that I have never heard speak before, and from all over the world. Speakers have to have a strong idea to make it onto the program – there are always too many applications for a limited number of spots. It always feels like the best and brightest to me, and a treat to be among them.
Once you start going to global conferences, you will grow your global network. Eventually, you will know these people well enough that you really want to break bread with them from time to time. This conference has lots of talk time, and is a great place for connecting and reconnecting. Hence the addictive factor I mentioned, but I am a happy addict.
3. No-pitch environment
The speakers really dish up their best stuff from a posture of sharing, contributing, and mutual learning. Do they simultaneously build their brand? No doubt about it. But I have found this event to be educational with no lingering sales aftertaste, and I love that.
4. From stretch ideas to utter bafflement
I am still thinking about a presentation about collective culture in India that I heard at least five years ago. At the same conference, there was a semiotics session about clouds that totally went over my head. I’m not kidding, I still know nothing about the semiotics of clouds. I’m hoping to fare better with the semiotics of toy soldiers from the same speaker this year. The speakers have always given me ample brain food, and I love that.
5. Collective experience
Conversations at this event never start with “what session did you attend” because this is all plenary. Instead, you can walk up to people at the next table and dive right in, knowing they heard the same thing you did. Or maybe they didn’t… And therein is the start of a great conversation.
5 ½ Cava
There will be cava. And I’ll be enjoying it along with smart people I don’t get to see very often. Maybe you’ll be one them. Cheers!
The photo was taken of the author and Ilka Kuhagen at a previous Worldwide Conference.