Workshop Experience at W-Tech 2009

Though I had registered for four sessions at W-Tech 2009 (Women in Technology) workshop, I was not expecting much out of the event. May be because of this attitude, actually it turned out to be good and I learned something new. This workshop was held at Savoy Place in Embankment, London. Therefore, another fringe benefit that I got from this workshop was the lovely shots that I took from the River Side Room at the third floor... here we go with recap of the sessions in my own flavour, laced with lovely shots of Thames and attractions.

How to Behave in an All Male Team - This title itself was controversial and naturally I was attracted to it. First, I was expecting to get tips and tricks for women to handle situations in an all male work place. When the speaker started to describe the difference between the compositions of male Vs female brains, I was a bit pissed off, as I used to hate biology even in my school days AND I didn't want to sit through another lecture. But, luckily, the topic coursed through an analogy of how the excessive brain cells affect our thought process and moved on to psychological analysis of why men and women behave in certain ways. Well, this might sound like oft spoken and run of the mill stuff, but as this was presented in a different tone and approach, I was able to see and identify myself with the past situations. For example, when I was told, "you should never take things personally" I used to think, "when you intend it to be personal, how else can I take it". Now, I can see that in reality those harsh words and negative criticism was mere gorilla chest beating syndrome.

Interacting with Technology - by Text, Face, Voice and Touch - This was conducted by professionals from Microsoft. I was hoping to hear trends in semantic web/web 2.0 and 3.0. But, it was pretty disappointing that they were merely showcasing Office Communicator and Microsoft Surface. On top of it, the business case video for Office Communicator client bombed, so they had to quickly jump to MS Surface until they could set live Office Communicator. MS Surface was futuristic and if you had watched The day the Earth Stood Still, you would remember the lady in intelligence dept using a touch screen application to sort through information and that is exactly how MS Surface works. The applications built on this were interesting, but the presenters were NOT well informed or rather they didn't know how to demonstrate. They were not even able to answer a couple of technical questions thrown from the audience and they just said that they could find out. Let me give them some credit, just for handling the situation with grace.

Living in the Future - For this session, I had no expectations at all and in fact, I was like "clean glass". So, I am sure that I never had any pre-conceived ideas BUT this was the worst session and I yawned several times. The presenter was reading a business case story set in the future. Note that she was plainly reading from a sheet. What can be more boring? The story sounded like a scene out of a recent Bollywood flick "Love Story 2050", where technology is so advanced that embedded systems could do wonders by interacting with real and virtual worlds. I was also reminded of a Reader's Digest article that I read few years ago about a virtual kitchen. The only benefit I got from this session was that I met an interesting person with E-learning background and we became friends so quickly that we had a long chat at Starbucks after the sessions:)

Emotional Intelligence (EI) - I would say that this was the liveliest session, with packed hall. The agenda was supposed to cover on gaining better understanding of EI, learn about tools to practice and be inspired to take action. The session was so short that we could only get a glimpse of what EI is all about, where as I was expecting to learn about some practical tools like "Free Writing" techniques that helps in solving mental blocks. Of course, the speaker was a professional coach and we were encouraged to learn about the training provided by her company. Personally, I would say or do something only after thinking how I would feel if someone does same thing to me. Well, this was the concept of EI as well. EI is all about Intra and Inter personal management and how we respond to external stimuli. I plan to learn more on this subject, because I believe that it could help me in many ways.

Yet another incentive form this trip is that I managed to see the much elusive Cleopatra's needle, and I will share about this in another post.


haan said...

hey pretty, any tips for "How to Behave in an All Male Team"?? i'm in that situation now :)

but i'm not dying... just wonder if there is any helpful tip.

VaishVijay said...

The speaker suggested that it is good to hide our "multi-tasking" high speed thoughts from our male counterparts. Also, try to be avoid giving opinions, when decisions are made, else it would sound like "challenging". Instead, be subtle and get feedback from, them. These all sounds like you need to be a bit subservient, which is a survival tactic!

haan said...

seems like hard to be acceptable to me!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...