Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Conf it up


What do you do when the concurrent conference session you were really interested in falls flat?


I've done it. I'm in a conference session whose title and description really resonated with me. But then a little into it I catch myself browsing the web on my mobile device because the actual presentation isn't all that interesting.

Image of distracted listeners

Over the past 12 months I've gone to a dozen or so conferences. Most were EdCamps; the others were sponsored by professional development organizations.

As a presenter it stings when I don't connect with the people in the room. Heads go down and it's plain they're doing something else. Mea culpa. Reflecting on this on the long drive home from EdCampVentura Sunday I wondered how a presentation might play out if it was more conversational. That's where the root of conference comes from: conversations among people brought together by similar interests.


When a presenter asks their audience to put their mobile devices away are they doing it to avoid disruption? Or might they be saying, "What I have to share isn't all that interesting." Maybe an appropriate response is following that basic tenet of EdCamp: Vote with your feet.



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