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Consider this … a conference that gives you the power to discuss what you want to. Discuss what you need to. Discuss the challenges you face. Share the successes you’ve had and the reality of failures. Now, put yourself in a group with industry peers discussing what they want to, sharing their challenges and successes. Together this group of knowledgeable professionals finds real solutions while truly learning from each other. This unconventional conference beginning to trend and become popular for experiencing the true power of peer-to-peer learning.

The idea behind this format was developed directly from adult learning research and brain-based learning laws. It has been found that adults prefer to determine their own learning experiences, retaining more from what they “discover” as opposed to what they are “told.” In addition, adults prefer interaction with other participants, seek practical answers to today’s problems, and learn more from talking than from listening.  As a result, the peer-to-peer conference experience focuses on two-way communication, is participant-driven and recognizes that every participant can be both teacher and learner.

These types of programs provide a new opportunity within the industry community for professionals to shape their learning experience.  It creates an environment for trading ideas, sharing concerns and challenges, talking about upcoming trends, sales techniques, as well as finding real solutions to real problems.  It is a supported environment where there is no right or wrong answer – just a platform for gaining insight from one another.

One industry outlet providing this unconventional learning format is The International Surface Event East through the Peer 180° Conference. David Romano, president of Benchmarkinc, and a Peer 180° facilitator, described it very simply, “Learning what works from the people who work it every day.”

These conferences usually begin with industry segment roundtable discussions to establish key topics affecting today’s floor covering, stone and tile industry professionals. From there, groups are split into smaller “pods” to accomplish in-depth discussions about their issues. Whether they’re retailers, installers, architects, designers, fabricators, distributors, etc. – participants will benefit greatly by conversing and collaborating with fellow professionals.

“The TISE East Peer 180° program is fresh and innovative. It has all the makings of being the most engaging learning experience you could have at a conference!” added Jim Hieb, president of MIA.

Scott Humphrey, president/CEO of WFCA is excited about the adapted format and adds, “What a great concept for a new way of learning. Where else could you go to get advice on the issues that currently impact your business? When this advice is discussed and reinforced by your peers, this is where meaningful change can and will happen.”

Some may point out the fact that not every person in the room is a “contributor.” True, but everyone will definitely benefit from listening to the group’s contributors’ own experiences and be able to take-away information and resolutions to put to work in their daily work. That’s the overall objective and what this unconventional conference program represents – a true take-away of material to motivate individual results. The encouragement among peers is natural when everyone is engaged in the same topic, hoping for the same successful outcome. With topics addressing management, sales and marketing techniques, installation challenges, cutting-edge products, building design trends, sustainability, fabrication, and more – peer-to-peer conference participants can’t avoid expanding will the potential for both personal and professional growth.

Unconventional peer-to-peer conferences are designed to create the best possible conference experience for participants, while maximizing interaction, connectedness and strengthening industry standards and best practices. Who better to learn from, but those dealing with the same day-to-day reality that you live?

Check-out the upcoming Peer 180° Conference at Be one of the first 15 people to register for Peer 180° [using promotion code LK01] to receive early roll-back rates.


Pamela Miller, Associate Show Manager

Michele Nebel Peake, TISE East 2015 Conference Manager