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Abstract Most Extension educators seek new ideas for organizing more exciting and animated workshops and conferences.
Often the most animated interactions and the most valuable learning take place during breaks, meals, and receptions.
Extending these unstructured networking periods provides one way to improve these events.
The experienced mangers lined up against one wall (think an 8 grade dance), and then the inexperience managers selected one for a conversation. Instructions were given to talk about either the same topics (since different people might have different views) or new ones. After a second period had passed, this conversation was closed, and the speed mentoring ended.
Instantly, the group of 28 managers who had listened attentively for nearly 2 hours to invited experts formed 14 pairs and went at it. It was a tremendous networking and shared learning opportunity.
Farmers and chefs used a more classic speed dating approach to forge new relationships and make deals.
Admit it--you wish your workshops and conferences were livelier.Basically the desks were lined up with two desks per pod. I told the students they needed to solve their problem in their group and become “experts” at their problem.When they were done I checked their answers and helped clear up any mistakes.The inexperienced managers listed market management issues/problems they wanted to discuss.The experienced managers listed three significant lessons they had learned in managing markets. The experienced managers stayed put, while the inexperienced rotated one station.(A simple "Google search" will uncover many examples.) The Oregon Farmers' Market Association (OFMA) holds an annual conference to educate market managers about current issues.