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The real learning comes in between the lessons

Posted by Ilise Benun on

I spent the better part of the weekend at my local NSA chapter’s two-day seminar on book writing. As I’ve mentioned before, often my takeaway from an event differs slightly from the authors’ (no pun intended) intent. I did take away some good nuggets on writing and marketing a book, but there was lots of gold in between the "real" lessons.

For example, it’s hugely helpful for me to see what works—and doesn’t—in public speaking. Watching and listening to the speakers themselves was at least as informative as hearing what they had to say. Feeling my own reactions, the pull towards and the pulling against, drove home the importance of delivery better than any lesson could.

Similarly, while it’s great to read about networking in books (and on blogs!), there’s just no substitute for the knowledge I gain by doing. And one of the biggest things I learned this weekend was the importance of listening: one person I met who seemed like someone I’d recommend literally talked himself off my short list by not knowing when to stop!

On the other hand, if anyone asks me for a referral to an author’s coach, Ann McIndoo is the first name out of my mouth. A terrific speaker with great content, she is also so wonderfully warm and generous, both on and off the stage, I’m sure she’d be a joy to work with.

What have you learned inadvertently? Was it as valuable—or maybe even more so—than what you’d come to learn?

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