i've been in atlanta this weekend for podcamp atlanta 2007 for the Night Job ... and also to check off one city on my twelve-month list. and cross this one off i shall...
it's not that i hate atlanta. it's that it's too much like the metro area i grew up in - too sprawling, too segregated, too dependent on individualized transportation. and let's not even talk about the traffic. great food, though, which i have eaten way too much of (i'll be paying for that next week). and the trip down here was worth every minute of the car ride. some highlights of my weekend:
1) stepping out of myself for the first time. i wanted to make this conference about networking - learning how to work a crowd, how to get what i want from others, and how to make time to give others what they want from me. and i've done a pretty good job, i think. i successfully sought out and had one-on-one conversations with many many people, and even ended up having a couple of people seek me out by the end of the day. that was weird, lemme tell ya.
2) the best session of the whole day for me was one entitled "removing the ums and ahs from your speech" - a whole session on how to be a more effective speaker. speaking has always been a weak point for me ... put me in front of a crowd and it only gets worse. i'm at a point in my career right now, however, that speaking is what's going to move me forward (up and out). so i wanted to take this opportunity to get that under control. and this one session was so completely worth it, i can't even describe it.
my problem is not that i need to open my mouth more often ... it's that i need to learn to close it. i know it sounds completely backwards, but my problem is that i try to think and speak at the same time, and my mouth tries to keep up with my mind and can't. so what i need to do is wait and think before i respond. what a concept, huh? so, the next couple of weeks i'm going to focus on recording myself and then listening to my conversations and being self-critical, in a positive way.
highlights of being not just at the conference but in atlanta? the colleague i came with has a friend that lives here, and he took us on a driving tour of atlanta. some areas of this town are just beautiful, but this place is just way too big. there are very few 'neighborhoods' - places you can go and do several different types of things while staying within walking distance. if you want to go to a bar, there's one area of town. if you want to see a movie, there's another area. shopping & dining are in a third, and arts & culture reside in a fourth. and nobody i talked to had anything nice to say about public transport. it just doesn't cover the city as one might hope. however the dogwoods are gorgeous, and the weather is nice (if a bit chillier than i had hoped). all in all, i was underwhelmed, and although i might like to visit again i feel no drive to live here or even to spend much more time exploring.
time to do some reading and then hit the hay. i'm exhausted ... i can't believe how much energy it takes to just talk to people all day. we've got more sessions tomorrow, followed by a long car ride home, so i will need all the beauty rest i can get. ciao y'all...