And do not neglect doing good and sharing,
For with such sacrifices God is pleased.
~ Hebrews 13:16
When I first checked our InScribe website to view the offerings at this year’s Fall Conference, I was disappointed that there were no formal workshops on offer. I read the explanation provided about the Open Concept Conference model with some trepidation. It wasn’t clear to me how this was going to work, so I did a bit of research on this type of meeting. Being an introvert, I wasn’t sure if this participant-driven format would suit me at all. I pondered it for quite a while before I finally decided to go ahead and register. Even though the format didn’t appeal to me, I had to admit to myself that this interactive Open Concept model might actually be good for me. You know . . . like that medicine that tastes awful but cures what ails you?
The explanation given for the Open Concept model included the invitation to come with an idea for a topic that we wanted to learn more about. Since I was planning to create my own website, I was eager for any information that I could glean from other attendees on this process. So, I decided to suggest this topic for one of the sessions. I had no idea whether many would be interested in this topic, but I was pleasantly surprised to see the assigned room fill up quickly with those who were eager to talk and learn about website building. There were several who already had their own websites, and it was enlightening to hear their experiences with the different website platform providers, such as WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace. There were also a few, like me, who were just getting ready to set up their own website and were looking for advice on the pros and cons of the various platforms, how easy they were to use, and what we should be thinking about including on our websites. I learned that two of the most important things to include are a newsletter and an email list for networking and marketing purposes.
The Open Concept model is governed by four “laws.” The first is the “Law of Two Feet.” It states that you are responsible for your own learning, which means that you are free to get up and leave a session at any time if you find it’s not right for you and join another. Someone suggested the analogy of “bees” and “butterflies” to explain how this works in practice. Some of us are “bees” who linger around gathering refreshing nectar, while others are “butterflies” who tend to flit from place to place. I am one of the bees, so I was happy to stick around and collect as much as I could from each session. I enjoyed all the sessions that I attended: Social Media, Medium, Marketing (Online & In-Person), Publishing with IngramSpark, and Christian Romance.
A highlight of the Conference for me was our guest speaker, Sigmund Brouwer, who writes novels for both children and adults. He describes himself as primarily a storyteller and this soon became obvious, as he is an extremely engaging and humorous speaker. I especially enjoyed his powerful presentation on and reading from his book, Thief of Glory, based on his father’s experiences as a young boy in a Japanese internment camp during World War II
So, my initial hunch proved correct. This Open Concept Conference format that initially left a bad taste in my mouth turned out to be good medicine for me. Along with refreshing the relationships I’ve developed with other InScribers over the years, this format encouraged me to come out of my shell much more than I would have during a traditional conference. Now that I no longer feel apprehensive about attending an Open Concept Conference, I’m hoping InScribe uses this format again in the future.