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Past conference participants have told us how much they valued peer-to-peer learning, collaboration, and creativity, and that they would like the same opportunities for informal networking time at future conferences. To that end, we have structured this year's STEMtech conference accordingly by scheduling Lunch Conversations 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday in Century Ballroom C at the Westin Kansas City Crown Center.
2012 STEMtech conference participants are invited to take advantage of these informal networking times by suggesting a session to facilitate. Did you learn something in the past year or at the conference that you want to share or discuss with others? Would you like to gather with others in your particular discipline or similar area of responsibility to discuss issues of mutual interest? You provide the Lunch Conversation topic; we'll provide the meeting space.
To schedule a Lunch Conversation, simply write the Lunch Conversation title, your name, and your affiliation on the Lunch Conversation Board located in the registration area (Prefunction Area, Grand Ballroom, Sheraton Kansas City Crown Center). If you have a description of your Lunch Conversation, include it as well. A good Lunch Conversation proposal clearly communicates the session topic to the reader. The description should be concise and to the point so the user can read the description once and fully understand the topic within a few seconds.
The ballroom will be set banquet style (i.e., round tables for 6-12 people per table). Since Lunch Conversations are discussions, there will not be a computer, projector, microphone, internet access, or flipchart in the room.
While there is no right way to lead a session, there is a preference for interaction and discussion. Introduce yourself and your topic, including why it interests you and what you hope to get out of the conversation. Have several discussion points in mind to stimulate the conversation. Try to get everyone involved within the first five minutes. Your goal is to get participants engaged in the conversation and to keep it going.
End promptly by summarizing the conversation, thanking the participants, and discussing ways to continue the conversation after the conference such as an online forum, blog, or presentation at next year's conference.