The CALL Continuing Education Committee hosted a successful Institute Day program on May 21, 2015 and would like to thank Thomson Reuters for agreeing to act as a sponsor. The theme of this year’s program was “Charting a Path to Management: Skills to Take Your Career to the Next Level.” The purpose of Institute Day was twofold: to identify and learn about the skills needed to further one’s career.
To accomplish this, the Continuing Education Committee brought in speaking and presenting expert, Steve Hughes, from Hit Your Stride, to discuss ways to become more effective communicators. Those of you who have attended the last two AALL annual meetings in Seattle and San Antonio will remember Steve from his well-attended and talked about sessions on similar topics. A panel of local Chicago area law library directors and managers was also assembled to identify and discuss the most critical skills needed to advance in today’s competitive job market.
Steve Hughes opened Institute Day with his presentation titled “Dazzle Me: Presentations that Captivate and Win Over Any Audience.” The purpose of the program was to help CALL members improve their presentations and better connect with audiences, large and small. I have always felt that speaking and presenting were underrated skills that could prove to be the difference between getting hired or passed by. Steve emphasized the brief window of opportunity at the beginning of every presentation to capture an audience’s attention.
He introduced his “SPARQ” concept as a way to intersperse surprising statistics, anecdotes, and questions throughout one’s presentation to grab an audience’s attention. After hearing Steve’s program, I personally came away with the idea that, with presenting and speaking, less is often more. Too much information will help lose an audience’s attention and one should focus more on condensing thoughts and ideas.
The second half of Institute Day consisted of a panel discussion of local law library directors and managers on the skills and competencies needed to achieve the goal of management and further one’s career. The panel consisted of Sheri Lewis (The University of Chicago Law School), Ramsey Donnell (The John Marshall Law School), Todd Hillmer (Marshall, Gerstein & Borun), Myka Hopgood (Dykema Gossett PLLC), and Gretchen Van Dam (U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit).
The panel discussed a wide range of topics including skills and competencies needed to differentiate one’s self and whether additional courses or certificates were necessary for career advancement. I came away with the impression that there are many different paths one can take to achieve management. Those who are interested in leading law libraries should candidly ask themselves whether they have the temperament and patience for work that can be stressful and challenging.
Institute Day 2015 wrapped up a successful year for the CALL Continuing Education Committee. I hope that CALL members who attended our programs learned something new that will help them become better researchers, presenters, and hopefully further their careers!