The AICM 2016 National Conference offered attendees countless opportunities for professional development, but the real return on investment is translating the experience into tangible personal and professional outcomes. As the saying goes; you only get out what you put in.

 Jane Calleja, National Training Manager at Weber BBQ has spent over 24 years teaching learning and development across numerous industries, including finance at companies such as National Insurance Brokers and Westpac.

 Her presentation at the end of the conference shared practical habits to ensure attendees are equipped to get the most out of opportunities at the conference and we caught up with her to hear why she thinks it’s essential to bring the conference mindset back to the office.

 Put your focus on personal and professional growth.

 For a business manager, Calleja says the conference is an essential component in learning to be ‘change-ready.’

 “You need to be asking ‘how can I engage my team as we bring in automation or new technologies’ and ‘how can I harness their creativity and continue to develop them to create new business opportunities.’”

 Engage, socialise and reflect.

 The German brain researcher Hermann Ebbinghaus has a model called a ‘forgetting curve,’ which teaches us that nine hours after we listen to a presentation we won’t have retained almost 36 per cent of what we’ve heard.

 Calleja explains that we must apply mechanisms for recall in order to firstly build long-term memory and secondly to apply insights gained at the conference.

 “When you’re actually in the conference room— take notes!” By putting what you’re hearing onto paper and into something you understand, you’re engaging yourself with the process.

 Then, you need to actively reflect on the experience.

 “You need to value taking the time to reflect on the experience and ask yourself ‘how can I apply that to my work?’ You should add to that by socialising your learning-- talking about it. Discuss it with a leader or a manager to pull that information apart and process it.”

 What happens when you get back the office?

 It’s essential to walk away with a sense of ownership over the insights you’ve gained. Being accountable for your actions post-conference, Calleja says, is key to instigating change.

 “It’s not just turning up and learning, but asking ‘what am I going to do with it?”

 One way to keep development going is to create what Calleja calls a ‘personal learning network’ that will continue the momentum. And it’s something the AICM actively facilitates.

 “I think the AICM really supports this by enabling you to find like-minded people. Those people can become a sounding board for new ideas, or the opportunity to find a business mentor, hear about new trends to help you stay relevant— or even light the way to a new career opportunity.” 

Jane Calleja photo March 2013.jpg

Jane Calleja, National Training Manager at Weber BBQ

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