The larger a conference, the harder it is to actually meet new people. And if participants are really diverse, the obstacles to personal interaction seem to multiply. To address these issues, the Asian Pacific Volunteer Leadership Conference (APVLC), which took place in Honolulu, Hawaii, in September 2008, designed a special series of small group sessions called “Reflection Pools.” Over 300 conferees from a dozen countries were divided into groups of 10, and convened four different times during the three-day event. The Reflection Pools participants were given clear instructions in order to jump-start their conversation.
In this Training Design article, Susan J. Ellis describes how she designed the Reflection Pools, how the APLVC experience represented real success, and how anyone can use this idea to add value to any conference.