Wednesday, October 24, 2007

MLA Wednesday Morning

I made it over to the Mankato Civic Center, which of course has a corporate name: the Alltel something or another. The good news is that there is wireless Internet all over the place, one advantage of having a facility like this sponsored by a major wireless vendor. Conference registration went smoothly, thanks to the volunteers working the table. More reasons to come to a conference - one of the volunteers was Carla Dewey Urban, one of the staff at the MINITEX BATS unit, a person who "knows a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy..." and is worth introducing oneself to, if you haven't met her previously. Carla gave me great directions to the exhibit area, so I could set up our MCTC professional table, and I was good to go.

The morning keynote speaker was Stevie Ray, the executive director of Stevie Ray's Improv Company, not Stevie Ray Vaughan, who did not come back from the dead to present at the conference. Ray talked about te power of saying yes, and turning from saying Yes, but... to saying Yes, and... He suggested banning the use of the phrase, "we tried this already," as a lead-in to a negative statement and find ways to turn it into a positive statement. He was a fun, interesting presenter, and had people talking later, including philosophical discussions about whether or not his idea of "yes, and.." applied to correcting misstatements of fact, etc. At the keynote, I ran into Mary Ann Greenwald, one of the folks in the MnPALS office, and was able to talk to talk to her a bit (another networking opportunity), not to mention getting to meet other new people through Mr. Ray's interactive game-playing session (more networking opportunities!).