I started my little blog, and then kind of abandoned it. That wasn’t my intention, but figuring out what I want to do with this space is a bit of a challenge.
Today I have an update on a something I’ve been thinking about for a long time, but haven’t taken any action on. There’s a group that I’ve been interested in called the Interagency Committee of State Employed Women (ICSEW). Today was their annual conference, and I got permission from my boss, signed up and paid my entry fee, and off I went! I don’t go to a lot of professional conferences, so this was pushing my boundaries. I didn’t know anyone else that was going, and so was totally on my own.
Over the course of the day I saw a few faces that I recognized, but as far as I could tell, I was the only person from my administration to attend the event. I saw other parts of my agency well represented, but I guess my area could use some work.
My biggest take away from the panels I attended today was the importance of listening. As my improv teach often quotes from this book, “listening is all there is.” It’s so simple, but so hard to achieve. It’s the basis of trusting relationships, of understanding other points of view, and staying focused on the world around you. Each other speakers today spoke of the importance of listening and how poorly a lot of us are at it.
I know I’m still improving. Especially listening over the phone. There are so many distractions that I can let myself be ruled by, particularly email. Or even just thinking ahead to what I’m going to saw next. Which means I’m not listening. How is my response going to be any good if I don’t hear what the person speaking is saying. It’s a weakness of mine that needs my attention to improve.
Professional development was also a hot topic. I got some good tips, and need to spend some time really focusing on them. More on listening and professional development later.
Throughout the day there were references to the horrifying events that have taken place in our country since Saturday morning. The need for inclusion and diversity cannot be overstated. I was really heartened by all the positivity I felt today and how supportive the audience members were for these comments.