Phones away. Silenced. Turned off. Whatever. How’s that for an idea worth sharing.

That’s my first “suggestion” when I take a group off on the Adventure known as Best Conference Session Ever. (I’d love to call it a rule but you’d be surprised how many people just can’t disconnect for 3 minutes let alone 3 – 4 hours.) Then I hand every participant a pen and one of the journals featured in this post!

Just to be clear, I don’t live under a rock. I get that technology offers you so much in terms of efficiency and productivity. I also know that mobile devices are time sucks, can be detrimental to our health, and have even gotten (addicted) employees fired from their jobs! I also believe that “social” media is anything but social. You want to be social………..spend time physically with people not worrying about what Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce are doing!

I’m coming down off my soap box now……………………..

The purpose of Best Conference Session Ever is to be inspired. To observe. To Think. To have an Aha moment or an Aha conversation with someone or several who also are not looking down. To get people out of those horrendous conference and meeting rooms and out into spaces that are more inspiring for learning and networking. To have an idea. To have a new idea. To have a crazy idea. An idea that works in another industry that gets you asking yourself could this work in ours. To come up with ideas that differentiate you from competition or others in the same space.

For example, on a recent Adventure with an assisted living and personal care organization we visited a coffee shop where the employee was wearing this sweatshirt………

Now that’s an idea I can get behind some days

One of the conversations that occurred between two participants was a sweatshirt or shirt that would read….“It’s Okay If You Didn’t Poop Today.” You gotta know the population to get the humor here.

Another idea that popped up was a shirt that read “It’s Okay If You Yell At A Staff Member Today.” I loved both ideas, but this one I can really get behind for a couple of reasons. First, it could get the resident to laugh or change a behavior. It could also give the employee that little reminder that the behavioral challenges they deal with on a daily basis with an aging or health-challenged population are (usually) not directed at him or her.

Of course some inappropriate ideas also surfaced. I won’t list them here.

What happened was conversation. What happened was brainstorming. There was laughter. There was problem solving on some level. And there was networking and bonding. Those are my promises to clients. Oh and course there was heck of a lot of fun!

So why the notebook and the request to put away the phones? Because I believe every idea has a time and place. Because I believe fleeting thoughts are often so good that people don’t realize their potential. And unless we break the pattern/behavior these ideas don’t get captured. Which is why I advocate for Observe, Think and then WRITE things down if you want to see new ideas implemented within your professional or personal life. Too much is being missed because people are looking down at a screen. These thoughts should be compiled in one place; a place where you won’t get sucked into things with no point or purpose. A place that’s fun to come back to at some point in time. An idea that probably will outlive Travis and Taylor’s romance.