Thursday, September 4, 2008

Conference sessions

I'll blog more about the Virtual Worlds Conference in LA that I'm attending this week, but I have to take a moment to write about presenting a session at a conference.

There are only two reasons people attend conferences: networking and learning. If your session doesn't address either of these, don't waste my time. If the goal of a session is networking, give the group a topic, make sure people have an opportunity to talk, and conclude with groups reporting back.

If your goal is to teach something, take a few minutes to consider how people learn. Don't talk at me for an hour. There are VERY few people who are so interesting that I want to sit and listen to them talk for more than 15 minutes.

Panels rarely work and are a cop out for putting together an actual presentation. If you put competitive companies on a panel, it will be a pissing match. That's not fun to watch, and you don't learn anything by watching people posture. Only once in a while do panels work, and those have interesting topics, prepared questions, and panelists that are qualified to answer. Its a rare occasion that you can pull off all three.

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