Annual conference 2014: candy store for Agilists

If you want to work Agile, you have to communicate. Any experienced Agilist knowns the importance of having a wide range of communication tools at hand. The 2014 edition of the annual AC NL conference on september 10 offered participants a lot of inspiration to add new tools to their skillset. From debating techniques to theater drama tactics, structering piles of loose information using the Pyramid Principle to using your voice different ways, the art of the TedX speech, using emotions while storytelling, and a lot more. The conference program was a candy store making the particpants feel overwhelmed by wanting to try and taste and all.

After a short word of welcome by Patrick Verheij, Chairman of the Dutch chapter of Agile Consortium, the floor was given to Sharon Kroes. As a former debating champion, he gave the audience a crash course on how to give a convincing speech. If you have a certain opinion, dig deep by asking three times why. Guaranteed you’ll find a widely shared belief like ‘peace is good’ or ‘everyone should have a fair chance’. Start building up your speech from there and people are more likely to agree with what you actually want to say.

Hans Mulder shared some interesting numbers on the role of communication in succesful projects and after the coffee break the workshops started. I happen to attend the workshop by Tobias Rodrigues, on how to connect with the emotions of your listeners. Start with speaking to the senses by choosing striking adjectives, he told us. Put the imagination of the people at work by telling your own stories; of who you are, what your mission is and about one of your vulnerabilities. Use metaphors when telling about yourself… And other insanely useful tips.

All the workshops on the afternoon part were worth visiting and it is unfair to the presenters I can’t describe them all. So here is the deal: have you visited a workshop and like to write a few lines about your learnings, please do so in the comments. I’ll copy and paste them into the body text.

The evening part of the conference started with plenary sessions of Laurens Bonnema and Bert Verdonck, the latter talking about how to really use Linkedin. Did you know it is wise to include a common misspelling of your name somewhere deep down your profile to enhance your findability?
After the Italian dinner, the interactive open spaces, round tables and dragons den took off. And by nine o’clock the organizing committee and especially Mary Beijleveld could look back on a great day.

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