Contribution and Collaboration:
My primary role in our group was the liaison between our group and the steering committee. I kept everyone updated with the requirements we needed to fill, the checklist of what we needed to do in the preproduction stages as well as in the postproduction stage. We also broke up into smaller groups, the promotions team and the events team and I had a foot in both, trying to make sure both groups were on the same page. I also did some research on the key players in our theme ‘digital/social media’ and put out feelers on social media, like twitter to scout out speakers that would be of interest to us. The biggest problems we came across was getting everyone in the group communicating together, and using the spaces, basecamp and facebook, that we had set up. I tried to encourage open conversations in our facebook group page because I felt the private messages being sent around were very exclusive and made it difficult for everyone to keep up to date and contribute to the project.
In terms of proactive learning, I actually did quite a bit of research on our guests and other potential guests in my own time and outside of our group. As I wasn’t the person in the role of contacting guests so I just researched some for my own understanding of our topic as well as gaining a better understanding of whom I might like to interview for my Personal Networking Report. It was also really good being in the liaison position with the steering committee because it gave me a chance to see how the groups before us were organizing their events, which gave me insight into how all of the other groups were managing to deal with communicating with such a large number of people. I also started watching other seminars, like TED talks to grasp an idea of successful seminar setups and the key elements that made them successful (clear structured speakers, audience participation and engagement). I also blogged a bit about our group’s progress, mainly because I wanted a place where I could find all of the information that I needed to help out with the seminar.
In terms of participation I tried really hard to make every meeting and be engaged in all of our group’s discussions. However I was seriously sick in the 2-3 weeks leading up to our seminar so I couldn’t help out as much as I wanted, which was really frustrating. I also responded to every discussion thread online but I found some members of the group weren’t using the two online spaces (facebook and basecamp) that we’d set up for discussion. So it was really hard to keep up-to-date with everything when members were having their own private conversations about our seminar. Before I was sick I attended all of our classes and meetings except for one. I was accidently left out of a separate message on facebook, which consequentially meant I didn’t get to make one of the promotional meetings. This was really frustrating as I was part of the promotional group and was really enthusiastic about filming our promo videos but as one of our group members chose not to discuss the arrangements of the meeting on the facebook group I unfortunately missed out. Ultimately I tried really hard to help out in every section of our seminar but due to being sick and another member’s miscommunication I didn’t get to do as much as I would have liked.
Connections and Intersections
The best thing I’ve learnt from attending the seminars, and researching guests for our own is to not be shy when contacting professionals! They actually are quite enthusiastic to give you a bit of help and once you’ve introduced yourself to them they actually do remember you and they’ve become a connection. I’ve also discovered that although it may take a while for professionals to respond via email other social networking sites like Twitter are really good tools. At first I thought it would seem unprofessional tweeting a professional but it worked, and was much more efficient than email! One of the other things I found beneficial attending the other seminars was putting faces to actual professionals in the industry, hearing where they came from and how they got to their current position. It made the whole getting a job thing and breaking into the industry seem a lot more doable. The professionals I’ve contacted myself now actually know who I am, so if I ever come across them in the industry I’ll have a one up on someone else who’s completely unknown. I’ve also learnt, even from our own seminar group, that people you know (like other students) already have connections with industry professionals so it’s beneficial to use that and to remain on good terms with everyone at uni because we’ll all probably cross paths in future jobs!
I’m giving myself a 75/100