Unconferencing … a new standard for conferences.

Posted by  admin —May 26, 2008
Filed in Facilitation

On his blog, marketing 2.0 guru Seth Godin penned a gem called The New Standard for Conferences. I am going to build on 2 reviews on other blogs (thanks Viv McWaters & Garr Reynolds) AND relate Seth’s message to my own experience as a facilitator.

My Conference-Rant – I have been involved in hundreds of conferences, meetings and forums as a facilitator … and even a few as a participant. Invariably, conferences fall into the fatal “death by powerpoint” trap. Generally, they try to rely on “experts” to enter the stage and blow everyone away with their wisdom and experience. Often, conference organisers fail to recognise that the real wisdom (and the traction for future action) is with the participants … that large group of people who pay good money and travel long distances to be there. As Seth says …

“If oil is $130 a barrel and if security adds two or three hours to a trip and if people are doing more and more business with those far afield…

and if we need to bring together more people from more places when we get together…

and if the alternatives, like video conferencing or threaded online conversations continue to get better and better, then…

I think the standard for a great meeting or a terrific conference has changed.

In other words, “I flew all the way here for this?” is going to be far more common than it used to be.”

So what’s are the solutions? How can we improve? Here are 3 things that I apply when assisting clients to run better conferences!

1. Read Presentation Zen and Garr’s tips and encourage keynote presenters follow the rules!

“If you think a great conference is one where the presenters read a script while showing the audience bullet points, you’re wrong.” Seth 


2. Listen to Unconferencing to get some perspective. Another of Seth’s quotes relates to this podcast …

Listen Here

“Or (if you think a great conference is) one that leaves little time for attendees to engage with others, or worse, if you don’t provide the levers to make it more likely that others will engage with each other, you’re wrong as well.”

3. Better understand how the human mind works. Two books …

A Whole New Mind (Dan Pink)Brain Rules (Dr J Medina) are must reads.

Two more books that provide compelling evidence to show that Seth’s rant, Garr’s presentation tips and Johnnie Moore & Chris Corrigan’s podcast are spot on!





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