Sunday, March 04, 2018

Why You Want to Learn From Experts

As we move into spring, there are a number of upcoming writers conferences.  I've been going to conferences for many years and I enjoy learning from different workshops. Yet from experience, I have learned the necessity to check out the credentials of the workshop leaders or speakers. What type of expertise do they have in the topic they are teaching?

There is an old saying in the public speaking arena, if you really want to learn a topic, you need to teach it. While  there is some level of truth in this saying (you learn a great deal as you prepare to  teach it),  there is also the necessity of having a certain level of expertise before you teach a topic.

For example, I often find people who have written one or two novels, will be leading a workshop on a particular aspect of writing fiction. These workshops are the ones I would avoid  because of the lack of qualifications of the instructor. Or in the area of social media, I often see people who call themselves "a social media expert" then I look at their twitter following and see they have less than 500 followers (almost beginners).  I want to learn from many different people, but I also want to learn from people who have exhibited their expertise in the area where they are teaching.

Here's how to check  out this expertise:

1. Read the background of the instructors and keynote speakers.

2. Use Google to search for their names and background

3. Make decisions ahead of the conference based on your research

From my years of attending workshops, I've walked out of a few workshops where the speaker has been unprepared or under qualified. Also I've grown to be more discerning of this issue when I sign up for an online course or take writing training from someone.

Are you discerning about who you learn from with your writing life? What are other qualifications that are important to you when you attend a workshop? Let me know in the comments below.


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