You know what they say about hindsight. It’s a hind. Sometimes, a big fat one. With my first conference talk under my belt, I thought I would share some things I learned.

When you are asked to speak, practice your good listening skills and read everything carefully. Sometimes the contract you sign does not put into writing the caveats you are told verbally. This is bad practice, but common.

The contract that TLA sent me said that I could not be reimbursed for travel expenses or paid an honorarium because I lived in Texas and work for a Texas library. It says nothing about conference registration. If however, I were to speak in a district other then my own for a district meeting, I could get reimbursed for that. Sounds like a crazy loop hole to me. I was also unable to find a copyright statement in the contract I signed. This is bad TLA if you think you “own” that recording you make of sessions. The contract just says I gave you permission to record me, not sell it. I do not care about this oversight, but someday, someone will and then…

Presentations are a lot of work. Preconferences are a whole lot of work. If I ever do another preconference, I want full registration at the very least, even if I am teaching L2 to the Pope.

Be very up front about the kind of technology you want in your room. Be firm. Organizations, you should be providing wired internet for presenters who want it without question and you should always have wireless. Wireless that does not cost an arm and a leg. Get it sponsored by someone or something; that is what vendors are for!

If you have to co-present, knowing your partner is much easier then not. It sometimes works out fine, sometimes not. Just be aware.

Things I would have changed:

  • I should have paid more attention.
  • TLA needs to change the way they alert speakers to their lack of registration. I am not the only person to flip out after seeing the mass email I received, so I know I am not crazy. Consider comping registration or simply wording the emails a bit different with less “overnight a check” urgency.
  • I would have liked to teach this in a computer lab or at least to a sea of laptops so that attendees could practice.
  • I think we should have taken the morning session, the examples and definitions I covered, and made that last all day. I think the audience needed more discussion and interaction and we just did not have time. I think some of the technical stuff was too much, but I found it very interesting.

This was a great learning experience for me. My only goal Wednesday was to have just a handful of the 100+ crowd leave with new ideas to use one Web 2.0 tool in their libraries.

I heard multiple times that TLA Council is going to be discussing speaker reimbursement in part because of the very public fit I threw. Good. It is not about the money. It is that there is a huge disparity between non-members who live in and out of state. TLA is a big organization with some pull in the library world. It would be great if they decided to be real leaders. Council, while you are at it, you should discuss the ridiculous requirements you have for Interest Group creation. If you have 50 people every year, you might as well be a Round Table. IGs should be small and intimate.

–Jane, handing out tickets to the Cluetrain