Conference boredom

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

Ton Zijlstra posts a critical – but constructive – review of a recent conference in The Netherlands A story of form and content. His central point: here is a conference about creativity and innovation run in a deeply conventional way that stymies freeform conversation in favour of powerpoint grandstanding by supposed experts. Exactly the kind of event I would avoid these days.

Ton concludes

For a next time it might be useful to look into incorporating Open Space elements or think about what makes a good conference. I would gladly help out in the idea-forming stage.

An Open Space approach would virtually guarantee my attendance at such an event. For some, there is (often untested) fear that it’s only the promise of “important” keynote speeches that gets people to attend. (We’re debating that over at the Applied Improv Network when planning our New York conference this year)

I think the conference business, just like the publishing business, is on borrowed time with the tedious “listen to the amazing experts” pitch. And it’s absolutely my own experience of these events that the chairing and moderating is often done really badly by folks who are far too fond of the sound of their own voice. The result is lots of death by powerpoint, and little or none of the conversation and engagement that humans really crave.

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