High Tech Professionals Share Best Practices Face-to-face, not Online

If you want your presentations to have a winning edge, Halina St James is chock-full of advice. St James is the energy behind Podium Coaching of Halifax, and living testament to her own advice.

Advice on being passionate, on being yourself, and on knowing your audience. On body language, and on simplicity of your message. On starting right, telling a story, and having a wow factor.

When to emphasize a word, when to pause for effect.

St James delighted her audience of mostly information processing professionals who packed the Scotiabank Theatre at St. Mary’s University last Wednesday, May 5th.

She was the keynote speaker at  the Professional Development Summit, a conference put on by six organizations that mainly focus on IT, Project Management, and Quality Assurance. The event promised to teach best practices and collaboration techniques to these professionals.

Besides how to make good presentations, participants also heard from experts on such matters as IT employment trends, software testing, professional ethics, change management, and project management techniques. There were also technical discussions on such products as SharePoint, Google Applications, and web application security.

The conference theme was “sharpen your axe”, and organizers emphasized that the presenters would help the audience get their “professional edge”.

Did it deliver?

By all accounts yes. I did a straw poll and everyone I talked to was very upbeat about having received value for their money. I also talked to Event Chair Debra Power and Marketing Chair Dave Conrad the next day, and the two of them were ecstatic with the feedback they had received.

When they are not organizing events, Power and Conrad are busy setting up project management offices and plying their IT trade. They also volunteer with organizations such as the Project Management Institute and the Canadian Information Processing Society.

All told, the event took some fifteen to twenty volunteers to put together and was months in the making. It was the third such summit in as many years and the attendance keeps growing with each passing year.

Besides the two organizations just mentioned, other promoters included the Atlantic Association for Software Quality Assurance, the Canadian Association of Management Consultants, the International Institute of Business Analysts, and the IT Service Management Forum.

These organizations all have different mission statements, but they all endorse common principles – professionalism, education, certification, standards, and best practices.

And of course professional networking. In fact more than one speaker in this totally wired group made the point that transferring knowledge face to face was more important than doing so online – almost fighting words in this day and age.

The presenters volunteered their time as well. According to Power, they do so out of a sense of sharing, but also for personal exposure to potential opportunities. She also points out that many people in IT realize that while high technical competency is important, it isn’t all that’s essential in business.

“Information technology cannot exist in a silo,” she says.

The next Professional Development Summit won’t be until May 2011, but  these same organizations put on many other events around Nova Scotia throughout the year. If you would like to be notified of future events, send me an email at pat.dentremont@nicomit.com to be included on the notification email I send out.

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