This year CM was a relatively new experience for me.
When I was working in academia, my research interests moved around quite a lot over the years I was publishing, which oddly enough meant that I never attended the same conference twice. This meant that most of the time I was at conferences I’m was seeking people out to learn from them, to get questions about their work answered and, occasionally, to try and get a job from them.
However, I’ve been going to Communication Matters National Conference pretty regularly. Communication Matters is a UK organisation that aims to increase understanding, awareness and knowledge of the needs of people with complex communication needs. Their yearly conference is something I’ve blogged about before.
Because I’ve been going to CM quite regularly, my approach to conferences has had to change. This year I had a long list of people to see, but it was all people to thank – I had to track down suppliers who had lent us equipment, I had to follow up with people who had written feature articles for me, I met up with people who had supported various ideas and projects (both successful ones seen on the blog, and some that never even made it that far). In all honesty I barely got time to visit any presentations at all because I spent all my time thanking people. It was lots of fun.
In the midst of all of this, Kate and I gave a presentation about Communikate (it was one of about five live presentations that Kate was doing over the weekend). We introduced it formally, – but talk itself felt a little bit like a groom’s wedding speech: we had so many people to thank (Many of whom where present).