Why Do People Resist Participant Centered Leadership Conference Styles?Although they know it’s good for them, speakers and attendees at leadership conferences will absolutely resist participant-centered education. If you make them do much more than speak and listen to speakers, they won’t respond with zeal. Why is that?
According to Jeff Hurt, a meetings and conferences expert at Velvet Chainsaw Consulting, they’ll resist because the change is frightening and active participation takes more work than just listening to people talk.
Hurt recently posted on his namesake blog about why leadership conference organizers need to alter the traditional form of these events so that people get more out of them.
“I can promise you that there will be speakers, staff, attendees and even leaders that will resist and oppose any moves to learner-centered conference approaches,” he writes. “Unfortunately, the traditional way to provide education sessions is more speaker centric with little ROI for the learner.”
Here are the top four reasons why people seem to resist, according to Hurt’s blog.
- Engaging the brain takes more work. Who likes to do more work? For the most part, nobody does. When speakers give a talk, listeners can relax, write a few notes and remain in their comfort zone. If they have to make decisions or talk about topics with people around them, they can’t relax as much.
- Speakers and attendees are afraid of trying new things because they’re not confident. Learner-centric leadership conferences can be frightening for people who aren’t used to being involved in exercises or discussions. There is always a risk that these conversations won’t succeed.
- Participants have to be responsible for their own education, which is both frightening and more work for them.
- People don’t know what to expect. Participant-centered education is new and everyone involved takes a while to make the transition.
Despite these reasons for resisting, Hurt explains that there is good news. Combating this reluctance to change is as simple as helping conference attendees and speakers see how much more they’re learning and retaining with a new style. They have to work for it, sure, but in the end, they’ll see that the effort was well worth it.
In summary, people don’t like change, especially when it pushes them to work harder and think harder at leadership conferences. They want to sit back and listen to speeches, but there are other ways to help them learn better, even if they resist.
So, what do you think? What have you found that helps people learn better at conferences? We’d love to get your comments!
Source: Jeff Hurt Blog, February 2013
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