Waking up in my own bed again after two days in Palo Alto for the Manager Tools training on DISC (Effective Communications Conference — ECC) and interviewing (Effective Interviewer Conference — EIC).
Bottom Line: I recommend them, both.
The setting was intimate. There were 11 attendees the first day and seven the second. In a group so small with high-energy interactive training it is easy to become intimidated or threatened. Our instructors, Dani and Sarah, managed that very well by keeping it professional and low-key.
When I say, “professional” I mean Dani and Sarah stayed on their feet with clear voices, clear speech, varied tone and examples to make sure the subject matter was thoroughly explained and engaging. Every question was welcomed and answered thoroughly while staying fanatically on-time.
Before explaining, ”low-key” I need this set-up: as a long-term listener I was intimidated by my preparations for this conference. Mark Horstman is the voice of manager-tools and there are a lot of meticulous shows in the library covering grooming and social protocol. It’s all helpful stuff, but if you’re a rule guy like me it means, “Hey, that’s a lot of rules I might accidentally break.”
Dani and Sarah went out of their way to make me feel welcome. Each of them introduced themselves to me individually during early breaks in the conference. They made some small talk about things I mentioned in my brief attendee introduction. They took time to connect with me personally without making me feel processed.
I’m not naturally good at meeting new people. I had a goal to meet as many new people at the conference as I could. Dani and Sarah made that easy and I felt a genuine rapport with them.
A great deal of the conference material is covered in the free Manager-Tools.com podcasts. If you have limited resources you can go a long way through free (as in beer) self study.
If you do have the chance to come to the conference I recommend it. You will hear things in person that you would gloss over in the podcasts. You will meet people that you want to meet. (That’s attendees and presenters.) These people share some important interests with you and you’ll be enriched by knowing them.
I myself have been a long term Manager-Tools.com listener. I started listening for free in 2010 because I knew my manager was listening to them. That became a great way to learn good things and connect with my manager. I bought a personal license in late 2012 because I was applying for a management position and I wanted to be able to visually scan and review the show notes. This did a lot to prepare me for the interviews. In late December 2015 my current manager identified funds to send us both to ECC and EIC.
The January conference dates conflicted with a cornea transplant that I had to schedule six months in advance. I was motivated enough to get there that I moved my cornea transplant up by 16 days so that I could be out of the two weeks of post-op recovery and attend.
Totally worth it.
No, it’s not magic. Neither is Apple, or the Super Bowl, or anything else that has fan boys. But I’m definitely a fan.
P.S. I already had received their most popular Effective Manager Conference materials via video. Recommend that as well. 🙂