Springingtiger's Blog

NLP Conference – Organisation
November 22, 2013, 10:56
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This is my final blog about NLP Conference and I’m not going to talk about NLP. Instead I’d like to thank Anglo American Books and reflect on the organisation of the conference.

I must admit I miss Regent’s College as a venue for the NLP Conference with its beautiful setting and opportunities to grab some fresh air. However those days are gone now, and in the past they must remain, but it was good to be back at conference again. The venue worked well, The Holiday Inn, Regents Park has a purpose built conference and training centre. The venue was flexible enough to accommodate both a large group and smaller presentations. It was easy to find every room and there was enough space for the exhibitors they had. The separation of the exhibitors into different parts of the venue, may have been determined by limitations of space, but it worked very well. Sometimes, when all the exhibitors are in one room, I find it difficult to fully appreciate them, the superstation of them into different public areas, I felt, was more conducive to conversation.

Although there was no lunchtime catering, there were plenty of good places to eat close to the venue. The provision of tea and coffee on the breaks went very smoothly, largely because of the number of serving stations. The pastries in the morning break were a good idea, very welcome.

The format of the program is tried and tested and changes little; it contains plenty of accessible information about the presenters and their subjects, it also provides a schedule and a map of the venue . I found plenty in the program to interest me, and the standard of the presentations was high. I enjoyed Joe Cheal’s presentation on embodied modeling because it was a work in progress and, for me, one of the most exciting things in conference has always been learning the new things on which people were working. I think it is important that as well as completed work, conference keeps alive the spirit of innovation that characterises NLP. I think it an indicator of a good conference when I cannot go to everything I want because I am spoilt for choice. I think the scheduling of the sessions could be looked at again, it is a shame when people have to leave a double session early in order to catch trains, perhaps it might be better to avoid scheduling double sessions on the Sunday afternoon. It is also frustrating when going to a single session prevents one from attending a double one, however it is good to have a single session to go to when the double session one has chosen proves to have been the wrong choice. In general I think the formula of a mixture of double and single sessions works well and provides a wide variety of choice. I don’t know whether it was deliberate, but many of this years presentations could have been grouped under the theme, “Modelling”. Whether deliberate or not it may be worth having the bulk of conference organised around a theme, with some slots reserved for presenting innovation. The full day Friday workshop has been a feature of the NLP Conference for several years and gives people the opportunity to experience the work of major figures in the community in greater depth than in the conference sessions, I like the Friday workshop.

There was a time when it was possible to purchase audio recordings of many of the conference sessions. I think this is something which might be profitable to revisit, it would be particularly useful for information heavy sessions like John McWhirter’s. Of course NLP Conference is the place to add to one’s library of NLP books and recordings. The Anglo American Books shop is a welcome feature of every conference and carries a good and varied stock of books and other media. I am not sure the bookshop is best served by being situated in one of the rooms wherein sessions are held as it does restrict access. If the bookshop must, for reasons of space, be sited in one of the presentation rooms; those presenters who may be relied upon to overrun, should be a allocated to rooms where they cannot impede desperate bibliophiles.

While I thought the venue was good, I must say I found the hotel less than pleasant, largely because our bedroom was subject to an unremitting, mechanical humming, were it not for my extreme tiredness, sleep would have been impossible. However there is much to be said for staying in the same hotel as the conference, which was something we couldn’t do in Regents College. So what does work is to use hotel conference facilities. Transport is another important thing to be taken into account; I get annoyed at having to go to London for so many things, but it is very well served for transport from all over the world and, within London, by public transport. The conference venue was only a few minutes walk from the Underground Station which was useful. We did have a couple of NLP conferences outside London and, it must be said, they were not as successful. There may be small improvements that might be made to the conference, but overall it worked very well.


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