Sharpening the Saw: “Putting Skills to Work”

I always enjoy attending the large national conferences because I get to see some of the best genealogy educators in action. At the National Genealogical Society Conference 6-10 June 2006, for example, you can observe great educators teaching a wonderful array of topics. When you go, do not get so wrapped up in the subjct that you fail to observehow the presenter does his/her job. Study the graphics of their overheads or powerpoint presentations. Look carefully at the match between handout and presentation.

This year there is an unusual opprtunity to attend a great on-day event as part of the conference. “Putting Skills to Work: Planning and Reporting Research” is a new BCG Education Fund Workshop. According to the media release this workshop is scheduled as a special event for Tuesday, 6 June. The workshop will offer hands-on practice in two important genealogical skills: planning and reporting research. It is patterned after the highly successful BCG Education Fund sessions on abstracting held at previous conferences. In the workshop all attendees will participate in sessions about both topics. Each session will include:

  • Lecture time to review the pertinent standards,
  • Hands-on practice time, a review of the practice sessions,
  • Final wrap-up.

Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, and Kay Haviland Freilich, CG, CGL, will lead the portion on planning research. Marty Hiatt, CG, and Barbara Mathews, CG, will conduct the reporting session and will address both compilations and research reports for yourself or others.
An additional registration fee of $90 is required to attend (see registration form). The fee includes lunch and a syllabus. You do NOT have to register for the conference to attend this event. Be sure to register early as attendance is limited to 60.

I know the high quality of Paula’s and Kay’s lectures and workshops, and expect Marty Hiatt and Barbara Mathews are educators of similar status, so I expect this event will be extremely well done. I only wish I could be in Chicago dor the NGS Conference for the event.

However,we can learn from this information two important things. First we see there is a pattern to the workshop: instruction, practice, evaluation or summation. And second we can see that a workbook is created for this event. We’ve talked about this before.

I noticed some other things:

  • Limited seating. Usually 60 seats is not considered limited seating but if this is part of a conference attracting 1500 eager genealogists, it is limited.Telling people that seating is llimited and encouraging early registration is an interesting promotional gambit. Remember that.
  • Lunch and workbook cost are bundled into the workshop fee. You can produce a workbook for $2.50 and value it at $10 or more. Similarly Lunch can be prepared for $3.50 and valued at $12. But by bundling the buyer sees a bargain.
  • The topic is unusual. Here is a workshop on a topic seldom taught but very important to learn. Its a winner.

Your comments are welcome.


One response to “Sharpening the Saw: “Putting Skills to Work”

  1. Hi Ken,

    I’ve been away from home (and the web) for almost a week – had grandfather duties – lots of fun, but tiring.

    Your comments about the presentation itself, the speaker, the graphics, the handouts, etc. are right on point. In my former life as an engineering manager, critiquing the company’s (and the customers and suppliers) presentations was one of my tasks. As a society program manager now, I watch my speakers and their presentations carefully to gather tips for my own presentations. Likewise, at conferences watching the speaker is one of my favorite tasks.

    Cheers — Randy

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