November 3, 2009 3 Comments
Over the years, I’ve attended many, many conferences – some awful, some forgettable, and a few outstanding.
I’m getting impatient.
- I’m impatient with thinly-veiled sales pitches from sponsoring companies during sessions. If you’re going to have sponsoring companies, set aside a specific time in the event when they can present their solutions openly to the audience.
- I’m impatient with speakers who think their role is to walk through a series of slides and do a verbal data dump. If you cannot spark interest, tell engaging stories, use helpful analogies, facilitate discussion, and (yes, this matters) speak with a reasonably pleasing voice, then don’t be a presenter.
- I’m impatient with attendees who are satisfied with passive information reception. We deserve and should demand better.
- I’m impatient with hotel setups where you cannot get some light on the speaker. Really – you CAN do this.
- I’m impatient with hearing the same old same old tired generalities, especially when it is dressed up in meaningless biz-jargon. If it’s not practical, real-life, and fresh, put it on a blog somewhere where it can be ignored. Because that’s what your audience is doing.
- I’m impatient with a lack of daring. Try new things. Shake things up. Get some creative thinkers in your advisory board and plan, from 9-12 months out, how you’re going to make things better.
As for me, like my friend Olivier Blanchard, I’m going to be a lot more selective about my conference attendance next year. I don’t want to spend time being bored and impatient in any aspect of my professional life. There are at least 237 ways to make conferences better. Let’s start doing them.
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