Is it conversations that matter?

During the past week I have been a part of the team that have hosted a conference called Scandinavian Leadership Seminar (ScaLDS). This is an annual conference that has for the last few years been set up by AIESEC in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland. Together with them we ran this conference bringing together about 100 leaders from all over the Scandinavian countries and abroad.

At these occasions one of the main parts of the content and reason why people are there is the connections, dialogues and reflections that all participants have with each other, and after the conference these are often the things that had the most impact / are remembered the most.  

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This, however, has always previously left me slightly frustrated. I am a very action-oriented person and because of this my view of conferences has often been: yes they’re critical for our performance – but at the end of the day they’re also a distraction from the things we “should be doing”.

Lately, my perspective has been changing. I read somewhere that at the end of the day, our core deliverable as knowledge workers is new knowledge. A major way to generate new knowledge is through dialogue. So, spending time in dialogue isn’t in fact a distraction, it’s rather one a big part of “work”. Furthermore, conversations, as I have seen throughout this week, can be used not only to connect people, but also to move them into doing completely new or different things. They can be used not only to generate ideas and understanding – but also to focus direction and activity.

With that perspective in mind I have found it much easier to approach these conferences. I no longer feel the anxiousness of getting back to “real work” and can instead 100% focus on interacting with the dialogues and conversations that happen in them.

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