COMM0015: Event Participation

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I attended the 2-day workshop on Psychology for Digital Behavior Change and an extra 1-day workshop on Psychology Architectures of Digital Behavior Change offered by AlterSpark. It was scheduled October 11 to 13 at the University of Ottawa.

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What got me to sign up for this workshop was the claim that it would help me design more creative online advertising campaigns and help me understand what is going through my customers’ heads when they see my ads. I signed up in April when I was looking for anything that could teach me about how to do my job right. Also, I have a big weakness for all things concerning psychology.

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I was a little worried when I got there, because I felt like a phony who was playing grown-up. I was just waiting for someone to discover my charade and call me out on it…

However, that did not happen because I am a grown woman who is competent and good at what I do. There were mostly government workers, me being the only non-profit organization there, and the others were private business owners. We all sat around this large conference table. I feared I would simply sit there quietly for three days straight. However, to my own surprise, I participated in a lot of the discussions. I gave my opinion and discussed different online marketing strategies that we saw in our line of work. People were kind, respectful and open-minded.

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We had a lot of hands-on exercises where we had to create ad campaigns from scratch while using the principles we learned in the workshop. One of the results was the goofy invention of the Lip Scarf. It was amazing and also a little scary to realize how much psychology is used behind all these advertising posts. All of these techniques are meant to draw you in and make you do things based on emotions and impulsivity.

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As a non-profit and probably the youngest and least experienced in the room, it was interesting to hear everyone’s thoughts. I was still often able to make relevant comments because of my passion for psychology, my hobby for reading books and articles on human behavior patterns, and my willingness to learn.

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After three days spent sitting down and creating advertising campaigns with an awareness of behavior patterns, I really felt motivated to get back to work. I realized that even though marketing per say is not my cup of tea, everything involving the human thinking around all of it was definitely something that kept me going and left me wanting to learn more on the subject.

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In short, it was a really fun and educational workshop. It was well divided into learning and exercise modules. I left the course with a boost in confidence and competence, books and practice booklets on what we learned, and a network of people who work in similar areas as I.

There is a quote that stayed in my mind even after the workshop was over: “Ambiguity is one of the greatest stress inducers in a human.” What that means is to keep things simple with your customers. Show them the way to go. Guide them to the finish line. Don’t bombard them with choices. Choice leaves too much space for confusion and uncertainty. Be confident in what you are asking them to do. And I can’t say it enough; keep it simple.

 

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Example of what I took from the course and adapted for my work for IRE Canada

 

I will definitely participate in similar events in the future. There is something irreplaceable with in-person networking. Also, nothing can replace live group interactions. Being in a room full of similar minded professional individuals is something that is extremely helpful to me,  especially when it comes to the ever-changing field of social media.

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