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1. Editor’s Letter
2. How to get the most out of a conference
3. How to win a QualityLife Company Bursary to the Value of R10 000
4. Still time to register for the 4th Annual “We are the Leaders we’ve been Waiting for”
5. QL Diary
6. In house training programmes
1. Editor’s Letter

Dear QualityLifers

After a rather slow start to the year (I was flattened by a 6 week flu virus) it feels like my energy levels are back with a vengeance. It probably helps that they are being bolstered by a gnawing sense of anxiety that I lost out on so much time.

So I’m trying to maintain some sense of writing discipline to meet the deadline for my book on women’s leadership. (Professor Karen Milner of Wits keeps reminding me that writing is easy: you just stare at the screen until drops of blood appear on your forehead!)

I’ve also become fascinated with the new opportunities that social media are offering. It’s a great way to keep in touch with a community like ours who are united by a common approach to leadership and business. So please join the QualityLife fanpage (a great place to share videos, links and network with other Qualitylifers) and follow me on twitter so we can share ideas. There’s a whole new world out there!

(In fact, you might want to read Seth Godin’s book Meatball Sundae (Piatkus) if you want some accessible insights on where the “new marketing” is taking us)

The 4th Annual “We Are the Leaders We’ve Been Waiting For” women’s leadership conference is just around the corner. Once again it’s an exciting line-up of awesome women and plenty of opportunity for conversation and networking.

As Shirley Lue Arnold Chairperson of Telkom said after last year’s event “‘We are the Leaders We’ve Been Waiting For’ is different from other leadership conferences by focusing on women, our values, and how we can be leading, not just in business, but in many other sectors of our society”

There’s still time to join us!

Take care and do stay well as the weather turns chilly in South Africa.

warm regards

Debby Edelstein and the QualityLife Company Team
2. How to (really) make a conference work for you

You know you’ve been to a really valuable conference if you come back full of ideas and energy. You also want to end off with lots of new connections and as many good reasons to continue conversations. It’s an opportunity to grow your network, to learn, to participate and to get a new perspective. But it’s also an expensive investment both in terms of time and money. Here’s how to make sure that you and your organisation reap the rewards of your investment.

1. Be generous with your information

Even if you can’t take friends or colleagues with you, touch base with them before you leave. Circulate a copy of the conference agenda. Offer to share your notes from a session. Perhaps you can even track down a speaker on behalf of someone who can’t be there. It can be a useful entree to meeting people yourself too if you’re contacting them on behalf of someone else.

2. Take plenty business cards – basic but important
3. Create your own conversations

In the conferences I’ve attended in other parts of the world, I’ve noticed that proactive delegates (many of whom had spoken internationally at other events) were creative about initiating their own dinner discussions and breakaway groups. Doing so will mean that you will be more easily remembered for your initiative.

4. Experienced conference delegates don’t just attend to learn new things from other people – they also use such events to market their own presence at the conference. As someone who is experienced and comfortable with crowds of different sizes, I was surprised at how nerve-racking it was for me to speak for the first time in a room full of strangers. But it got much easier after the first time and then people I met later would say ‘I remember you from what you said in the Women’s Forum.’ Speak up!

5. As hard as we conference organisers work at selecting great presenters and facilitators, what makes a conference really great are the people you meet over coffee. So make sure that you don’t only associate with the group you came with however much easier it might be. Moving around in a pack just doesn’t work. If like me you sometimes have to attend events on your own where you know no-one, make sure that you don’t latch on to a friendly person and become a hanger-on. It will only irritate them and inhibit their mingling. By all means keep the conversation going but keep moving.

6. Use all your time well. The last thing you should do is to watch TV in your room and order room service. Try to maximise your time by organising a dinner time conversation by putting together a group of people you want to make sure you have a chance to meet. Energetic types might put together early morning jogging groups.

7. Make sure you follow up with people afterwards – most people don’t take the trouble
(For more tips on “How to be a Conference Commando” read uber networker Keith Ferrazzi’s book Never Eat Alone (Doubleday)

3. How to win a QualityLife Bursary to the value of R10 000!

When times are tough – especially if you’re not employed by a big organisation – it’s not always easy to justify the expense of a conference fee. The truth is that even if you can’t afford to pay the full fee, it’s part of the culture of QualityLife Company events to attract a diverse audience. We believe that it makes the conversation more vibrant and exciting when a wide range of industries, sectors and interests are represented.

So in the past in addition to the substantial discounts we’ve offered to NGOs and individuals who we thought would add texture to the conversation, we’ve also sponsored a few innovative individuals who have been proactive enough to suggest ways of adding value to the conference itself.

There was the videographer who captured two days on film, an aspirant writer who recorded the whole event in her own words and a PR professional who managed to secure publicity prior to the event; all valuable services which we were happy to exchange for the price of a conference fee.

So in the spirit of encouraging value-added thinking at a time when creative ideas are more abundant than cash flow, QualityLife Company is offering a R10 000 bursary for QualityLife Company courses to the person who comes up with the best, most innovative and value-added idea related to the 4th Annual “We are the Leaders We’ve Been Waiting for”. Entries close on June 1st so hurry and write to Dunne with your proposals.
We look forward to hearing your brilliant ideas!

4. We are the Leaders we’ve been Waiting for

“We are the Leaders We’ve Been Waiting For” is the 4th Annual QualityLife Company leadership conference for women (June 9) and the organisations who recognise their leadership contribution and potential. The truth is that women lead all the time. We just lack the confidence to call it leadership. This one-day conference will highlight the qualities you already possess in your personal and professional life and will show you how to fast-track your path from good manager to great leader. (Check out the pics here for a sense of what’s happened in previous years)

Keynote speakers include:

Zindzi Mandela, daughter of Madiba, unquestionably the most famous leader in the world, talks to Debby Edelstein about Leadership Lessons from Nelson Mandela.

Shireen Hassim, associate professor of Political Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg will tackle the challenging topic of Mastering Organisational Politics: The not-so-subtle relationship between personal and political power.

Zanele Batyashe, joint winner of the “Apprentice” South Africa, demonstrates that leadership has nothing to do with age. Her topic: Elders and Upstarts: How to Lead Whatever Your Age.

Panel Discussion – A very diverse panel will certainly get ideas flowing and creative juices simmering. The topic: Innovation at Work: Why Ideas Matter. Demonstrating that thought leadership and innovation are two essential tools for survival are the panel of restauranteur Kerry Edgar, new scientist Claire Janisch and entertainer Cofield Mundi.
Two Mini-workshops – Conversation to Build Community: Myrna Wajsman Lewis, MA (Clin Psych), Founder of the Art of Deep Democracy, Ashoka fellow and author of “Inside the No”.

Stress Management at Work: The Healing Power of Meaning: Wendy Hendler is a logotherapist, certified More to Life Coach and Mentor.

For More information and Bookings, click here.

5. QualityLife Company Diary

QualityLife Company Breakfast Forum: What’s your story? Master the ultimate form of influence
Johannesburg 22 May, Sunnyside Park Hotel

Taking the audience on an inspirational journey from the birth of humankind to the present, Justin Cohen shows how the explosive speed of progress is fuelled by our unique ability to tell stories. If you want to grow an organisational culture, share knowledge, sell a product or lead a team you need to use the oldest and most powerful form of influence: you need to tell a story. For more information, click here

Grow your own Consultants

Johannesburg 29 June – 1 July 2009
Cape Town 29 July – 31 July 2009

Many business units have a role in the organisation that requires their staff to consult to other parts of the organisation. Whether in a problem solving, service provision or advice giving capacity, this programme equips teams with consulting skills so that they know how to engage with internal and/or external clients using a professional approach, one that both discerns the real needs and at the same time builds ongoing constructive relationships. For more information, click here

6. In house training programmes

“We have used QualityLife Company over the last 3 years on a continuous basis for a variety of topics. They always have a professional approach and the quality of their facilitators is exceptional. They are all well qualified and always add something new to the subject matter. Their approach is practical with insight. They also realise that you deal with a whole person and are not just interested in their output. I would highly recommend QualityLife Company as a partner in training. ” Louwrens Erasmus, General Manager, Rand Air.

Our in house training programmes continue to yield outstanding results. If you are planning your company’s skills development programme, give Dunne a call (011 880 9749) or email him for further information.