Al’s Column: Professionals seek creative learning

Home Columns Al's Column Al's Column: Professionals seek creative learning

September 14/21; Volume 30/Number 7

By Pamela Miller and Michele Nebel Peake

Consider this: a conference that gives you the power to discuss whatever you would like. Discuss what you need and the challenges you face. Share the successes you’ve had and the reality of failures. Now, put yourself in a group with industry peers discussing what they want, sharing their challenges and successes. Together this group of knowledgeable professionals finds real solutions while truly learning from each other. This unconventional conference is becoming popular for experiencing the true power of peer-to-peer learning.

The idea behind this format was developed directly from adult learning research and brain-based learning laws. It has been found that adults prefer to determine their own learning experiences, retaining more from what they discover as opposed to what they are told. In addition, adults prefer interaction with other participants, seek practical answers to today’s problems and learn more from talking than from listening. As a result, the peer-to-peer conference experience focuses on two-way communication, is participant-driven and recognizes that every participant can be both teacher and learner.

These types of programs provide a new opportunity for flooring professionals to shape their learning experiences. They create environments for trading ideas, sharing concerns and challenges, talking about upcoming trends and sales techniques, and finding real solutions to real problems. It is a supported environment where there is no right or wrong answer—just a platform for gaining insight from one another.

One industry outlet providing this unconventional learning format is The International Surface Event (TISE) East through the Peer 180° Conference. David Romano, president of Benchmarkinc and a Peer 180° facilitator, explained it very simply: “Learning what works from the people who work it every day.”

These conferences usually begin with segmented roundtable discussions to establish key topics affecting today’s floor covering, stone and tile industry professionals. From there, groups are split into smaller “pods” to facilitate in-depth discussions about their issues. Whether they’re retailers, installers, architects, designers, fabricators, distributors, etc., participants will benefit greatly by conversing and collaborating with fellow professionals.

Scott Humphrey, president and CEO of the World Floor Covering Association, is looking forward to the adapted format. “Where else could you go to get advice on the issues that currently impact your business? When this advice is discussed and reinforced by your peers, this is where meaningful change can and will happen.”

With topics addressing management, sales and marketing techniques, installation challenges, cutting-edge products, building design trends, sustainability, fabrication, etc., peer-to-peer conference participants can’t avoid expanding the potential for both personal and professional growth.

Unconventional peer-to-peer conferences are designed to create the best possible experience for participants while maximizing interaction, connectedness and strengthening industry standards and best practices. Who better to learn from but those dealing with the same day-to-day reality that you live?

Learn more about the upcoming Peer 180° Conference at Be one of the first 15 people to register for Peer 180° (using promotion code LK01) to receive early rollback rates.

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