PADI Member Forum 2010 Review

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PADI: The Way the World Learns to Dive

Tuesday night, I attended Portland’s PADI Member Forum (disclaimer: I am a PADI Master Instructor).

If You Didn’t Attend DEMA, You Should Attend Member Forum

There is a lot that is new in the professional world of PADI. The Undersea Journal can only do so much, being able to see the materials in person and hear about success stories is incredibly valuable. However, much of this information was discussed at DEMA last November in Orlando.

If You DID Attend DEMA, You Should Attend Member Forum

Yes, you read that right. Even if you went to DEMA or attended an IDCS/CD update elsewhere, you should still attend. Not only is a refresher of everything worthwhile, but being able to network with your local dive professionals and hear specifically what they are or are not doing is worth the time.

Barry Dunford

Barry is my PADI guy. I don’t know about your PADI guy/gal, but Barry is awesome. He knows his materials, is comfortable in front of the group and is easily able to deal with questions thrown at him. You’re probably thinking every dive instructor should have these attributes and you’re right. That’s what I like about Barry, he is a SCUBA instructor, knows the things I’m supposed to know and uses a proven presentation system/style.

The other great thing about Barry (and all of the PADI people I encountered at DEMA) is they get people (at least some) excited. My wife isn’t current with her teaching credentials, but I dragged her along and she told me halfway through that she’s going to get back to active status ASAP. That’s Barry’s doing.

PADI

I love the new programs, partnerships and promotions coming out. But (and maybe this is just me as a professional presenter), could someone in their slide-making department pick up Presentation Zen, Presentation Zen Design,¬†Slide:ology and The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs? The biggest no-no that is always violated: putting all of the textual content on the slide. Your audience reads it instead of listening to and watching the presenter, then are off what he or she is saying, then start to nod off because they’re lost.

Again, maybe just me being nit-picky.

The Crowd

This is what I really went for. I had two incredibly cool events happen:

  1. Someone (Richard aka @scruffydiver) that follows me on Twitter actually was there! I’ve been a slacker in getting back to him, but we will go diving some time! See, real life connections from the online world!
  2. I got a shout out from Barry.

I didn’t collect statistical data, but I would guess the average age in the room was about 45. Take away the crew I belong to and the staff of Seven Seas SCUBA and that number would go up.

Not too surprising, but further validates my point about the advancing age of the SCUBA industry.

While most people either accepted or were enthusiastic about the technological advancements of PADI (which I think could still be improved upon), there were still people in the crowd who just wanted to complain and fight back.

Prime example: why is the PADI Member Forum available online in October? It’s old news then.

It’s available in October because they want people to come to the forum so the PADI representatives can meet with the “foot soldiers”, build our local SCUBA communities and immediately answer questions. If it were available online in January, I would imagine a large number of people would just watch the video and call it good. If your staff can’t make it, take copious notes and debrief them at a later time.

Next week, when I discuss the new Google Buzz, I’ll be talking about the effectiveness of complaining about technology (thanks to a great discussion with my sister last night). The sneak peak is that there’s not much point in complaining and that we just need to figure out how to maximize the tools.

Was the PADI Member Forum Worth the 2-3 Hours?

You’d better believe it. Make sure you attend yours.

Have you been to yours? How was it?

This site has no affiliation with PADI beyond the author being a PADI professional. Don’t want to hear only about PADI? I’d love to hear from instructors from other SCUBA diving agencies!

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