Why does the general registration price go up every three months?
We use popular presenters and to get them here we have to ask about 9 months ahead of time. We try to figure out how many teachers we will need for the number of participants attending. The pricing is structured to encourage early registration. Please take advantage of it. If we kept the price low until the end and everyone waited until then to register we would not have enough teachers.
How are presenters chosen?
While we consider diversity in age, gender, race, hearing acuity, and other factors that label people into groups, our top priority has always been to find good presenters that can impart knowledge in an interesting way. We check every recommendation made to us. Presenting at this conference requires special skill. One has no idea who or how many will come to a session and the teacher has about 5 seconds to impress and control the room. It is quite different than a college situation where one has a semester to build relationships( and has the power of a grade). There are other factors we consider as well: how many hours a presenter is willing to teach (which topics and at what levels), how much travel will cost, how long he/ she must stay, how timely the presenter is in communicating with us and meeting deadlines, how easy/ difficult the person is to work with, how well he/ she fits in with the general atmosphere of Silent Weekend, etc. With returning presenters we also take into account number of people served, ratings, history, and comments on the evaluations.
Who determines which workshops are "advanced" enough to make them eligible for RID continuing education units?
The sponsor. RID has a certain set of standards that must be adhered to in order to grant CEUs to a workshop. The presenter fills out an instructor's form for the sessions he/she wishes to qualify for CEUs. Those forms are sent to the host (Silent Weekend) by May 1st. We submit them to our sponsor who then checks them all for compliance with the RID standards and assigns each a number. Those that comply must be sent to RID at least 30 days before the event.
Why is there a 30 minute break during the four hour advanced workshops?
Our schedule is in two hour chunks. While the four hour sessions are meeting there are two hour sessions happening at the same time. We have to give the people in the two hour sessions time to leave an early (8:00) one and get to the second one ( which starts at 10:30) If we did not take that break, either the ending times would have to be staggered or there would be no time for the early two hour session participants to leave the room and have the second two hour session begin on time. If a session is listed as four hours long, you must go to the whole four hours to get CEUs.
How are the lengths of workshops determined?
Our schedule runs in blocks of two hours. Presenters submit proposals for workshops they feel they can do in two, four, or six hour time slots. It is up to the presenter's time management skills to accomplish the task in the time allotted.
Why aren't presenters required to " copy sign" questions and comments from the audience?
Each presenter handles his/ her session. Evaluations that we read impact whether or not we bring presenters back but we don't tell them how to run their workshops. If you can not turn to see a comment or question, please consider sitting on the side so you can see both the presenter and the audience.
Can I video the workshops for personal use?
No, not without permission from the presenter giving the workshop. Everything in the session is the intellectual material of the presenter and once someone tapes it there is no way to control what is done with it. That is the same reason we do not have our program book in an ebook format.
How are CEUs tracked?
Please click on the RID CEU forms link for a full explanation.
Why is the Fledgling class "closed"?
This class was originally designed for those who might be traveling with people who were attending Silent Weekend. It was a way to give them something to do during the main hours of the conference. We cap it at 15 participants so they can become comfortable with one another. This is not open to the general conference attendees because the group would keep changing and might swell to numbers we are not prepared for in that room. If one is registered for Fledgling he/she may not go to the general conference from 8:00am to 4:00 pm on Friday and Saturday. If we allowed that there would be no way to prevent people from paying the Fledgling price as a cheap way to get into the regular classes.
Why aren't the rooms set up with tables?
The hotel fire code dictates how many people can be in a room based on how the chairs are set. A room set in theater style can hold twice what a room set in classroom style (tables) can. We do not want to start limiting the attendance in each workshop. Also, in a visual language venue presenters often find tables cumbersome and counter productive when it comes to breaking into groups.
What is the dress code for the weekend?
Any thing that won't embarrass Mike! We see the weekend as casual. Some dress more formally and some for comfort. Presenters may dress as they wish. Coming to the opening on Thursday will afford you a glimpse of each presenter's style.
Why won't the hotel staff bring more coffee or hot water when the urns are empty?
This is a money issue. Silent Weekend orders 12 gallons of hot beverage for each break. Coffee, decaf coffee, and hot water each cost$65.95 a gallon. [the cost for hot water includes the energy to heat, the lemon, the half and half, and tea bags the " walk" when some take them to use later]. So, in 2016 each break represented $791.49 in hot liquid, $189 in 24% service charge, $47.48 in 6% state tax, and $3. 96 in .5% county tax bringing the total of one break to$1,032.78. This is also why there is no food provided at break. Bagels and pastries cost $7 a piece not counting all the added on charges and we would have to say how many they should provide.....then pay for them even if they are not eaten. The extra expense is not a wise use of funds and we are not willing to raise registration prices to cover refreshments.
Why can't the room thermostats be set to make the rooms consistently comfortable?
Comfortable is a relative term. After years of trying to work with the hotel to achieve a solution we now have them lock the thermostat at 72 degrees. Please dress in layers.
Why is the lighting often poor in the rooms?
The hotel can not change how the rooms are wired. We were finally able to get the wall sconces off, purchase a drop from the ceiling spot light for several rooms, change the room orientation, etc. but the problem of having low light to see the screen display but bright enough light on the instructor remains. We tried a floor lamp, but the instructor kept moving and the people bumped into it......we will keep thinking.
Why is the hotel so noisy during a " silent weekend "?
While we spend a good deal of money at the hotel, we don't buy it. Other hotel guests are free to use the corridors and gathering places. We rent the meeting rooms, not the hallways. This hotel has 511 sleeping rooms and our event occupies only 150 on any given night. The hotel must continue to function; the rumbling of tables being rolled, glasses clinking, and hotel staff talking behind the walls will not disappear during our 4 days here. We do provide ear plugs for those who find the noise distracting.
Why aren't children allowed at Silent Weekend?
They are if they if they have purchased a registration and have a dedicated chaperone who has a paid registration with them. When we allowed children we often heard complaints that they were distracting. There were also people who used it as a baby sitting service. The liability and safety issues are not something we wish to deal with.
Why aren't there more vendors?
Unfortunately, vendors don't come to help us make the weekend more fun; they come to make a profit. Vendors often talk to each other about which conferences have been profitable, so hopefully the more you buy the more vendors we will get!