This past week, I attended #140conf in New York City, where some of the biggest names with the widest reach on Twitter came together to discuss the platform’s future.

Instead of recapping the event with a play-by-play, I’d rather share one key observation I made during the event that, I soon realized, applies to conferences as a whole:

Always deliver more in person than you deliver online.

More of what, you might ask?

Exactly.

Whether you’re a conference organizer, speaker or attendee, your goals may differ but the same rule applies: You always want to get more from the people you’re staring at than what they make available to you digitally.

But in order to do that, you first need to give more of yourself.

Web time is compartmentalized; face time is linear.  Face time is worth more.

We have to earn the benefits that come with face time.

Here’s how you can do that.

10 Tips for Conference Organizers

  1. Promise attendees, speakers and sponsors one specific payoff; then deliver it.
  2. Start on time, stay on time, stop on time.
  3. Make it easy for attendees to network before, during and after the event.
  4. Don’t enforce your event’s brand at the expense of your audience’s experience.
  5. Nourish the attention spans of your attendees.
  6. Sponsors deserve better than being chained to display tables and ignored.
  7. Provide more value than the ticket price would suggest.
  8. Would you pay to attend your own event?  If not, add value until you would.
  9. Be conscious of homogeneity; sexism, racism and cronyism damage when implied.
  10. Promoting your event doesn’t stop when the event itself stops.

That last point deserves some explanation.

Having organized several live events myself, I’m very aware that the core team of organizers is generally exhausted by the time the event is over.  The last thing anyone wants to do talk about an event they’ve already been talking about for months.

But you don’t have to.  Instead, assign one person from your promotions team to cultivate and curate the best of what other people are saying about your event.  This includes:

  • Finding the most revelatory blog post recaps from attendees
  • Seeking out the best photos from the event
  • Identifying the most important videos filmed at (or about) the event
  • Interviewing the sponsors to obtain their immediate feedback
  • Asking the speakers for a list of their favorite event sound bites

Then, the week after the event, post your curated summary of conference-based media on the event’s website and email it in a final e-blast summary to all sponsors and attendees.

Why?

Because the buzz surrounding your event will now be shrinking, just as your attendees have finished recuperating from their live experience.  They need a reminder of who they just met and what they just learned.  Plus, those who couldn’t attend this time around will need proof that your next conference is going to be a can’t-miss event.

And if you don’t do it now, everyone’s memory will turn to mush.  (Trust me, without documentation, all live events quickly become either legends or lost weekends.  And no one wants to pay top dollar only to immediately forget why you matter.)

10 Tips for Conference Speakers

  1. Stop repeating your bio; we can find that on our own.
  2. Don’t thank the organizers for inviting you; save that for the VIP room.
  3. Tell me a story.  Data without context is just numbers.
  4. If your entire presentation consists of information I already know, you’ve failed.
  5. Ditto presentations comprised of things I could discover by Googling you.
  6. The auditorium is your bedroom.  Dazzle us.  We paid for it.
  7. Everyone in the room should want to hear you speak again.
  8. Always leave time for a Q&A.
  9. Don’t make your entire speech a Q&A; the audience paid to hear you, not itself.
  10. Leave us with an action item, so your revelations will live on beyond your exit.
  11. Bonus points if you rejoin the audience after your presentation; it reminds us you’re human.

10 Tips for Conference Attendees

  1. You paid to be there (with your money, time or both).  Use it.
  2. Don’t come to sell; come to help.
  3. You’re not required to listen.  If the stage is dry, seek wisdom in the gallery.
  4. Every conversation you have could change your life.
  5. Spend less time documenting the event than experiencing it.
  6. A speaker is more (or less) than a sound bite; anoint your saviors accordingly.
  7. Nobody wants to hear your pitch; they want to know why you matter.
  8. Identify one interesting thing about yourself; when in doubt, talk about that.
  9. Always make time for the after-party.
  10. Always leave the after-party before you can’t.

And one bonus tip for everyone:

Time Stops at Live Events

At least, it should.

Online, our attention is perpetually assailed by more information than we can process.  As such, any interaction that lasts “too long” automatically starts to feel “wrong” because we feel compelled to look elsewhere for input.

At a live event, we have the luxury of turning off the endless stream of stimuli and really focusing on the human beings staring back at us.  We can have one-on-one conversations without the obligatory multitasking.

Enjoy this.

For me, one of the high points of #140conf was a late-night conversation I had with C.C. Chapman and Matthew Ebel in C.C.’s suite at the Roger Smith Hotel.  We talked about family, technology, business, theology, sex, money and the future — essentially, everything but Twitter.  (Which, at a Twitter conference, is impressive.)

That’s not the kind of conversation that fits into 140 characters, or a blog post, or a series of emails.

That’s the kind of personal connection that makes all the digital work we do worthwhile.  It reminds us that our machines connect us to complex humans with more to say to one another than we can ever squeeze into our momentary sampler platters of partial attention online.

And I have no idea what time it was when I left.

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86 Comments

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Micah · March 11, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Attendees, without them, it would be a sad conference.

Tamara · August 9, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Great tips here! I love that you came at it from all angles, even from the conference coordinator point of view. Hit the nail on the head here…nnTamaranwww.BlogConferenceNewbie.com

Tamara · August 9, 2010 at 11:27 am

Great tips here! I love that you came at it from all angles, even from the conference coordinator point of view. Hit the nail on the head here…

Tamara
http://www.BlogConferenceNewbie.com

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Esther Crawford · April 28, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Great post and tips – too often folks forget to BE present while in person.

Esther Crawford · April 28, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Great post and tips – too often folks forget to BE present while in person.

Scott Gould · April 27, 2010 at 11:03 pm

lol – ok!

zaneology · April 27, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Scott!:) LOL. I know it's been a day or two, but remember my original comment (which you complimented along w/the post is why I was notified and we started this string) was about the wonderful-ness of our “social family” …and, I also appreciated you for “bringing the awesome content to the family dinner…” (keeping the theme) Ring a bell yet? You can reply on twitter. Justin might be ready for us to move out now…:) xo

Scott Gould · April 27, 2010 at 12:15 pm

OK very confused here – are you guys related?

zaneology · April 27, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Most Definitely. But I am very proud of my very smart handsome little brothers Scott & Justin…As you can see our side of the family got the big brains AND good hair genes.

zaneology · April 27, 2010 at 11:58 am

You are talking our brother! Stop it! LOL.

Justin Kownacki · April 27, 2010 at 11:56 am

We're all allowed to not answer that. My brain cannot compete with my body.

Scott Gould · April 27, 2010 at 9:43 am

LOL – is Justin a hottie?

zaneology · April 27, 2010 at 9:37 am

:) Should we just keep talking on this page Scott? It's kind of fun…and I get to see Justin's picture each time. Bonus!

Scott Gould · April 26, 2010 at 1:07 pm

lol – Zane you're so cool. I wish all the people I followed on Twitter had as much fun as we guys do!

zaneology · April 26, 2010 at 12:56 pm

Thx Scott. I appreciate everything about you and all the choice content you always bring to the “family dinner.” :)

Scott Gould · April 26, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Love this post, love this comment. Far too many people 'broadcasting social'.

zaneology · April 26, 2010 at 11:49 am

Justin – Love this post. Excellent tips for all sides. I noticed that for me, #6 in each list were the strongest, most potentially controversial points — kind of like a subliminal charge to the second half of each list. I liked it. :)

On a personal note, I can tell you this much:

My fondest recollections are the conversations with people I didn't know before we started having the conversation, the reunion hugs from the friends I met at previous events, @smallbizlady telling us to get our own personal theme song (like Rocky did), @LizStrauss's beautiful yet very clear message about the importance of LISTENING relayed subtly via a story about her Dad – and last but not least – the impromptu Pizza Party in my suite (Nod to my spacious suite at The Roger Smith Hotel as well!) w/ @cathybrooks, @thinkmaya, [brand new friend] @LaurelKaufman and @ohdoctah – where Owen's gracious offer to pay for the pizza was matched by @jeffpulver's selfless offer to tip the delivery guy for us because I didn't carry enough cash downstairs.

What makes all this special? Because whatever anyone thinks (positive or negative), we're family. We're in a bubble that exists IN-side the real world. I choose to L.O.V.E. this bubble and the people in it, because I believe in people and love people as a rule. Sure… maybe we are all not each others cup of tea – but this bubble world within the real world is a place where I can truly say the sum is greater than its parts.

That is why I attend the conferences. Social is my business. I must have got asked 100+ times what I was speaking about, when I was speaking etc. – but I was just there to BE THERE – visiting my family.

Thx again for all the awesome brotherly advice.

    Scott Gould · April 26, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Love this post, love this comment. Far too many people 'broadcasting social'.

      zaneology · April 26, 2010 at 12:56 pm

      Thx Scott. I appreciate everything about you and all the choice content you always bring to the “family dinner.” :)

        Scott Gould · April 26, 2010 at 1:07 pm

        lol – Zane you're so cool. I wish all the people I followed on Twitter had as much fun as we guys do!

          zaneology · April 27, 2010 at 9:37 am

          :) Should we just keep talking on this page Scott? It's kind of fun…and I get to see Justin's picture each time. Bonus!

            Scott Gould · April 27, 2010 at 9:43 am

            LOL – is Justin a hottie?

              Justin Kownacki · April 27, 2010 at 11:56 am

              We're all allowed to not answer that. My brain cannot compete with my body.

                zaneology · April 27, 2010 at 12:01 pm

                Most Definitely. But I am very proud of my very smart handsome little brothers Scott & Justin…As you can see our side of the family got the big brains AND good hair genes.

                  Scott Gould · April 27, 2010 at 12:15 pm

                  OK very confused here – are you guys related?

                    zaneology · April 27, 2010 at 3:00 pm

                    Scott!:) LOL. I know it's been a day or two, but remember my original comment (which you complimented along w/the post is why I was notified and we started this string) was about the wonderful-ness of our “social family” …and, I also appreciated you for “bringing the awesome content to the family dinner…” (keeping the theme) Ring a bell yet? You can reply on twitter. Justin might be ready for us to move out now…:) xo

                    Scott Gould · April 27, 2010 at 11:03 pm

                    lol – ok!

              zaneology · April 27, 2010 at 11:58 am

              You are talking our brother! Stop it! LOL.

zaneology · April 26, 2010 at 11:49 am

Justin – Love this post. Excellent tips for all sides. I noticed that for me, #6 in each list were the strongest, most potentially controversial points — kind of like a subliminal charge to the second half of each list. I liked it. :)

On a personal note, I can tell you this much:

My fondest recollections are the conversations with people I didn't know before we started having the conversation, the reunion hugs from the friends I met at previous events, @smallbizlady telling us to get our own personal theme song (like Rocky did), @LizStrauss's beautiful yet very clear message about the importance of LISTENING relayed subtly via a story about her Dad – and last but not least – the impromptu Pizza Party in my suite (Nod to my spacious suite at The Roger Smith Hotel as well!) w/ @cathybrooks, @thinkmaya, [brand new friend] @LaurelKaufman and @ohdoctah – where Owen's gracious offer to pay for the pizza was matched by @jeffpulver's selfless offer to tip the delivery guy for us because I didn't carry enough cash downstairs.

What makes all this special? Because whatever anyone thinks (positive or negative), we're family. We're in a bubble that exists IN-side the real world. I choose to L.O.V.E. this bubble and the people in it, because I believe in people and love people as a rule. Sure… maybe we are all not each others cup of tea – but this bubble world within the real world is a place where I can truly say the sum is greater than its parts.

That is why I attend the conferences. Social is my business. I must have got asked 100+ times what I was speaking about, when I was speaking etc. – but I was just there to BE THERE – visiting my family.

Thx again for all the awesome brotherly advice.

pamelahowell · April 26, 2010 at 11:09 am

Thanks, Jason!

As one of the organizers of a local IT conference May 7-8 in NJ (http://picconf.org), I found your views really focusing and relevant. We're in the home stretch of registrations and conference prep, but it's always good to remember why we go to events, why we run them, and what everyone can do to make it awesome++!

pamelahowell · April 26, 2010 at 11:09 am

Thanks, Jason!

As one of the organizers of a local IT conference May 7-8 in NJ (http://picconf.org), I found your views really focusing and relevant. We're in the home stretch of registrations and conference prep, but it's always good to remember why we go to events, why we run them, and what everyone can do to make it awesome++!

jrfent · April 26, 2010 at 10:30 am

Great thoughts Jason. Appreciate the way you looked at conferences from all sides. I've sent links to this to my partner and a few friends.

jrfent · April 26, 2010 at 10:30 am

Great thoughts Jason. Appreciate the way you looked at conferences from all sides. I've sent links to this to my partner and a few friends.

Kim Z · April 26, 2010 at 9:57 am

“Spend less time documenting the event than experiencing it” should be a rule for everything in life.

Kim Z · April 26, 2010 at 9:57 am

“Spend less time documenting the event than experiencing it” should be a rule for everything in life.

Kim Z · April 26, 2010 at 9:57 am

“Spend less time documenting the event than experiencing it” should be a rule for everything in life.

pamelastpeter · April 26, 2010 at 8:59 am

Great info and insights Justin! Thanks for sharing the secrets for a successful conference that you've learned. Very good advice as we move forward on an event here in Raleigh, NC

pamelastpeter · April 26, 2010 at 8:59 am

Great info and insights Justin! Thanks for sharing the secrets for a successful conference that you've learned. Very good advice as we move forward on an event here in Raleigh, NC

pamelastpeter · April 26, 2010 at 8:59 am

Great info and insights Justin! Thanks for sharing the secrets for a successful conference that you've learned. Very good advice as we move forward on an event here in Raleigh, NC

pamelastpeter · April 26, 2010 at 8:59 am

Great info and insights Justin! Thanks for sharing the secrets for a successful conference that you've learned. Very good advice as we move forward on an event here in Raleigh, NC

Judy Helfand · April 26, 2010 at 8:55 am

Hi Justin,
I came by here today because Chris Brogan tweeted about your post. I don't often have the opportunity to attend conferences, but I was able to attend BWE09. Reading your “advice column” today I thought back to that experience. I particularly like your point to attendees: “Spend less time documenting the event than experiencing it.” I blogged about my BWE09 experience http://www.bit.ly/aILKuV and just this week Rick Calvert commented on my post.
Your point: “Then, the week after the event, post your curated summary of conference-based media on the event’s website and email it in a final e-blast summary to all sponsors and attendees.” I have to say it would be helpful to all to receive that follow-up e-blast. It keeps attendees interested, allows them to offer feedback. I pointed out my blog post to Rick Calvert via Twitter last week, as he was talking about someone else's BWE09 review. Funny, if you Google BWE09 my blog post is #17 out of 70,600 results, but no one from BWE09 noticed it.
I will subscribe to your blog. I have read it before and always find it interesting.

Judy Helfand · April 26, 2010 at 8:55 am

Hi Justin,
I came by here today because Chris Brogan tweeted about your post. I don't often have the opportunity to attend conferences, but I was able to attend BWE09. Reading your “advice column” today I thought back to that experience. I particularly like your point to attendees: “Spend less time documenting the event than experiencing it.” I blogged about my BWE09 experience http://www.bit.ly/aILKuV and just this week Rick Calvert commented on my post.
Your point: “Then, the week after the event, post your curated summary of conference-based media on the event’s website and email it in a final e-blast summary to all sponsors and attendees.” I have to say it would be helpful to all to receive that follow-up e-blast. It keeps attendees interested, allows them to offer feedback. I pointed out my blog post to Rick Calvert via Twitter last week, as he was talking about someone else's BWE09 review. Funny, if you Google BWE09 my blog post is #17 out of 70,600 results, but no one from BWE09 noticed it.
I will subscribe to your blog. I have read it before and always find it interesting.

Judy Helfand · April 26, 2010 at 8:55 am

Hi Justin,
I came by here today because Chris Brogan tweeted about your post. I don't often have the opportunity to attend conferences, but I was able to attend BWE09. Reading your “advice column” today I thought back to that experience. I particularly like your point to attendees: “Spend less time documenting the event than experiencing it.” I blogged about my BWE09 experience http://www.bit.ly/aILKuV and just this week Rick Calvert commented on my post.
Your point: “Then, the week after the event, post your curated summary of conference-based media on the event’s website and email it in a final e-blast summary to all sponsors and attendees.” I have to say it would be helpful to all to receive that follow-up e-blast. It keeps attendees interested, allows them to offer feedback. I pointed out my blog post to Rick Calvert via Twitter last week, as he was talking about someone else's BWE09 review. Funny, if you Google BWE09 my blog post is #17 out of 70,600 results, but no one from BWE09 noticed it.
I will subscribe to your blog. I have read it before and always find it interesting.

Judy Helfand · April 26, 2010 at 8:55 am

Hi Justin,
I came by here today because Chris Brogan tweeted about your post. I don't often have the opportunity to attend conferences, but I was able to attend BWE09. Reading your “advice column” today I thought back to that experience. I particularly like your point to attendees: “Spend less time documenting the event than experiencing it.” I blogged about my BWE09 experience http://www.bit.ly/aILKuV and just this week Rick Calvert commented on my post.
Your point: “Then, the week after the event, post your curated summary of conference-based media on the event’s website and email it in a final e-blast summary to all sponsors and attendees.” I have to say it would be helpful to all to receive that follow-up e-blast. It keeps attendees interested, allows them to offer feedback. I pointed out my blog post to Rick Calvert via Twitter last week, as he was talking about someone else's BWE09 review. Funny, if you Google BWE09 my blog post is #17 out of 70,600 results, but no one from BWE09 noticed it.
I will subscribe to your blog. I have read it before and always find it interesting.

Karen Hartline · April 26, 2010 at 8:00 am

What an amazing post! As an event/conference planner, my main goal is always to offer something unique that the attendees can walk away with. I would rather have speakers with extraordinary info to share with the attendees. These may not be the biggest names, but their stories are ones that need to be heard.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
*Cheers,
Karen

Karen Hartline · April 26, 2010 at 8:00 am

What an amazing post! As an event/conference planner, my main goal is always to offer something unique that the attendees can walk away with. I would rather have speakers with extraordinary info to share with the attendees. These may not be the biggest names, but their stories are ones that need to be heard.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
*Cheers,
Karen

Karen Hartline · April 26, 2010 at 8:00 am

What an amazing post! As an event/conference planner, my main goal is always to offer something unique that the attendees can walk away with. I would rather have speakers with extraordinary info to share with the attendees. These may not be the biggest names, but their stories are ones that need to be heard.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
*Cheers,
Karen

Karen Hartline · April 26, 2010 at 8:00 am

What an amazing post! As an event/conference planner, my main goal is always to offer something unique that the attendees can walk away with. I would rather have speakers with extraordinary info to share with the attendees. These may not be the biggest names, but their stories are ones that need to be heard.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
*Cheers,
Karen

Mars Dorian · April 26, 2010 at 7:35 am

Vital points,

and this one especially rings gold to me :

Tell me a story. Data without context is just numbers.

A good speech should be both, entertaining and informative. The call to action at the end also is essential.

Mars Dorian · April 26, 2010 at 7:35 am

Vital points,

and this one especially rings gold to me :

Tell me a story. Data without context is just numbers.

A good speech should be both, entertaining and informative. The call to action at the end also is essential.

Mars Dorian · April 26, 2010 at 7:35 am

Vital points,

and this one especially rings gold to me :

Tell me a story. Data without context is just numbers.

A good speech should be both, entertaining and informative. The call to action at the end also is essential.

Mars Dorian · April 26, 2010 at 7:35 am

Vital points,

and this one especially rings gold to me :

Tell me a story. Data without context is just numbers.

A good speech should be both, entertaining and informative. The call to action at the end also is essential.

SexCpotatoes · April 26, 2010 at 7:23 am

I want to thank you for posting this with absolutely *perfect* timing for us to use these tips for the Inaugural Podcamp Cleveland we have coming up this Saturday, May 1st.

Obligitory Link Plug: http://www.podcampcleveland.com

I've been banging on phones and email and twitter for the past couple months trying to get the word out, and get as many people as possible from NE Ohio and beyond to register ( & to show up and participate).

I'm definitely gonna talk to the other main organizers about sending a link out in our e-newsletter this week to this post! Thank you!

SexCpotatoes · April 26, 2010 at 7:23 am

I want to thank you for posting this with absolutely *perfect* timing for us to use these tips for the Inaugural Podcamp Cleveland we have coming up this Saturday, May 1st.

Obligitory Link Plug: http://www.podcampcleveland.com

I've been banging on phones and email and twitter for the past couple months trying to get the word out, and get as many people as possible from NE Ohio and beyond to register ( & to show up and participate).

I'm definitely gonna talk to the other main organizers about sending a link out in our e-newsletter this week to this post! Thank you!

SexCpotatoes · April 26, 2010 at 7:23 am

I want to thank you for posting this with absolutely *perfect* timing for us to use these tips for the Inaugural Podcamp Cleveland we have coming up this Saturday, May 1st.

Obligitory Link Plug: http://www.podcampcleveland.com

I've been banging on phones and email and twitter for the past couple months trying to get the word out, and get as many people as possible from NE Ohio and beyond to register ( & to show up and participate).

I'm definitely gonna talk to the other main organizers about sending a link out in our e-newsletter this week to this post! Thank you!

SexCpotatoes · April 26, 2010 at 7:23 am

I want to thank you for posting this with absolutely *perfect* timing for us to use these tips for the Inaugural Podcamp Cleveland we have coming up this Saturday, May 1st.

Obligitory Link Plug: http://www.podcampcleveland.com

I've been banging on phones and email and twitter for the past couple months trying to get the word out, and get as many people as possible from NE Ohio and beyond to register ( & to show up and participate).

I'm definitely gonna talk to the other main organizers about sending a link out in our e-newsletter this week to this post! Thank you!

Traci Browne · April 26, 2010 at 7:16 am

Thanks for your post Justin, I am for any ideas that improve the conference experience and agree with most your points. There is just one that I disagree with and that is points around the speakers. I think most people do not want to hear someone rattle on for an hour or so. I think we can all learn from our peers and are all experts with something to add in one situation or another. I disagree that the person standing in front of the room armed with powerpoint is the only person worth listening to.

I would like to see more peer-to-peer interaction during conference sessions. This is not a recipe for disaster if those sessions are well moderated. I'd much rather hear multiple point of views on a topic than just one…even panels are getting old and stale. Conferences are doing nothing more than herding attendees from room to room with little time to network which is the main reason everyone attends.

I would much rather attend something that let me interact with my peers 90 percent of the time and if that were to happen I might even tolerate a keynote session or two.

Traci Browne · April 26, 2010 at 7:16 am

Thanks for your post Justin, I am for any ideas that improve the conference experience and agree with most your points. There is just one that I disagree with and that is points around the speakers. I think most people do not want to hear someone rattle on for an hour or so. I think we can all learn from our peers and are all experts with something to add in one situation or another. I disagree that the person standing in front of the room armed with powerpoint is the only person worth listening to.

I would like to see more peer-to-peer interaction during conference sessions. This is not a recipe for disaster if those sessions are well moderated. I'd much rather hear multiple point of views on a topic than just one…even panels are getting old and stale. Conferences are doing nothing more than herding attendees from room to room with little time to network which is the main reason everyone attends.

I would much rather attend something that let me interact with my peers 90 percent of the time and if that were to happen I might even tolerate a keynote session or two.

Traci Browne · April 26, 2010 at 7:16 am

Thanks for your post Justin, I am for any ideas that improve the conference experience and agree with most your points. There is just one that I disagree with and that is points around the speakers. I think most people do not want to hear someone rattle on for an hour or so. I think we can all learn from our peers and are all experts with something to add in one situation or another. I disagree that the person standing in front of the room armed with powerpoint is the only person worth listening to.

I would like to see more peer-to-peer interaction during conference sessions. This is not a recipe for disaster if those sessions are well moderated. I'd much rather hear multiple point of views on a topic than just one…even panels are getting old and stale. Conferences are doing nothing more than herding attendees from room to room with little time to network which is the main reason everyone attends.

I would much rather attend something that let me interact with my peers 90 percent of the time and if that were to happen I might even tolerate a keynote session or two.

Traci Browne · April 26, 2010 at 7:16 am

Thanks for your post Justin, I am for any ideas that improve the conference experience and agree with most your points. There is just one that I disagree with and that is points around the speakers. I think most people do not want to hear someone rattle on for an hour or so. I think we can all learn from our peers and are all experts with something to add in one situation or another. I disagree that the person standing in front of the room armed with powerpoint is the only person worth listening to.

I would like to see more peer-to-peer interaction during conference sessions. This is not a recipe for disaster if those sessions are well moderated. I'd much rather hear multiple point of views on a topic than just one…even panels are getting old and stale. Conferences are doing nothing more than herding attendees from room to room with little time to network which is the main reason everyone attends.

I would much rather attend something that let me interact with my peers 90 percent of the time and if that were to happen I might even tolerate a keynote session or two.

annholman · April 26, 2010 at 7:15 am

Fabulous post Justin and great points. It never ceases to amaze me how bad conference organisation and presentation can be. We run these all the time and as a seasoned presenter myself, you have given me some fantastic reminders on the important points. Anyone organising and speaking at events should read this.

annholman · April 26, 2010 at 7:15 am

Fabulous post Justin and great points. It never ceases to amaze me how bad conference organisation and presentation can be. We run these all the time and as a seasoned presenter myself, you have given me some fantastic reminders on the important points. Anyone organising and speaking at events should read this.

annholman · April 26, 2010 at 7:15 am

Fabulous post Justin and great points. It never ceases to amaze me how bad conference organisation and presentation can be. We run these all the time and as a seasoned presenter myself, you have given me some fantastic reminders on the important points. Anyone organising and speaking at events should read this.

annholman · April 26, 2010 at 7:15 am

Fabulous post Justin and great points. It never ceases to amaze me how bad conference organisation and presentation can be. We run these all the time and as a seasoned presenter myself, you have given me some fantastic reminders on the important points. Anyone organising and speaking at events should read this.

Daniel Kuperman · April 26, 2010 at 6:42 am

Nice tips! A critical one for me is “time stops at live events”. Focusing on what's being said, both at the stage and around you is a key element to make the most out of the event. Time and again I see people paying more attention to their work email, or answering phones during events, than really enjoying the experience. If what's happening outside the event is so important that you have to interrupt your experience maybe you shouldn't have come in the first place.

And an extra tip for conference attendees: Always get up from your seat during breaks and find someone to chat. Make it your personal goal of meeting (meaning exchanging more than “hello”) at least 2 new people per coffee break.

Daniel Kuperman · April 26, 2010 at 6:42 am

Nice tips! A critical one for me is “time stops at live events”. Focusing on what's being said, both at the stage and around you is a key element to make the most out of the event. Time and again I see people paying more attention to their work email, or answering phones during events, than really enjoying the experience. If what's happening outside the event is so important that you have to interrupt your experience maybe you shouldn't have come in the first place.

And an extra tip for conference attendees: Always get up from your seat during breaks and find someone to chat. Make it your personal goal of meeting (meaning exchanging more than “hello”) at least 2 new people per coffee break.

Daniel Kuperman · April 26, 2010 at 6:42 am

Nice tips! A critical one for me is “time stops at live events”. Focusing on what's being said, both at the stage and around you is a key element to make the most out of the event. Time and again I see people paying more attention to their work email, or answering phones during events, than really enjoying the experience. If what's happening outside the event is so important that you have to interrupt your experience maybe you shouldn't have come in the first place.

And an extra tip for conference attendees: Always get up from your seat during breaks and find someone to chat. Make it your personal goal of meeting (meaning exchanging more than “hello”) at least 2 new people per coffee break.

Daniel Kuperman · April 26, 2010 at 6:42 am

Nice tips! A critical one for me is “time stops at live events”. Focusing on what's being said, both at the stage and around you is a key element to make the most out of the event. Time and again I see people paying more attention to their work email, or answering phones during events, than really enjoying the experience. If what's happening outside the event is so important that you have to interrupt your experience maybe you shouldn't have come in the first place.

And an extra tip for conference attendees: Always get up from your seat during breaks and find someone to chat. Make it your personal goal of meeting (meaning exchanging more than “hello”) at least 2 new people per coffee break.

SHerdegen · April 26, 2010 at 5:26 am

Thanks for posting this Justin. I'll be presenting at a conference next week and you gave me some great things to think about.

SHerdegen · April 26, 2010 at 5:26 am

Thanks for posting this Justin. I'll be presenting at a conference next week and you gave me some great things to think about.

SHerdegen · April 26, 2010 at 5:26 am

Thanks for posting this Justin. I'll be presenting at a conference next week and you gave me some great things to think about.

SHerdegen · April 26, 2010 at 5:26 am

Thanks for posting this Justin. I'll be presenting at a conference next week and you gave me some great things to think about.

Jim Raffel · April 26, 2010 at 5:17 am

Unplugged and telling it like it is! – like you style and your advice all good my friend. Thanks for sharing this today as I prep for a speaking engagement later this week. Reminders are always good and I took a new thing or two away as well.

Jim Raffel · April 26, 2010 at 5:17 am

Unplugged and telling it like it is! – like you style and your advice all good my friend. Thanks for sharing this today as I prep for a speaking engagement later this week. Reminders are always good and I took a new thing or two away as well.

Jim Raffel · April 26, 2010 at 5:17 am

Unplugged and telling it like it is! – like you style and your advice all good my friend. Thanks for sharing this today as I prep for a speaking engagement later this week. Reminders are always good and I took a new thing or two away as well.

Jim Raffel · April 26, 2010 at 5:17 am

Unplugged and telling it like it is! – like you style and your advice all good my friend. Thanks for sharing this today as I prep for a speaking engagement later this week. Reminders are always good and I took a new thing or two away as well.

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