10 great things I’ve seen at conferences in 2015
END of year. Reflection time. End of year also brings with it Year in Review Best Of Lists. Best TV shows, books, movies or best Federal Politics Leadership Spills. I’ve been too busy at conferences to be able to comment on any of the above - so here’s my list of 10 great things I observed at conferences this year. 10. Shorter conference presentations: bit by bit conference organisers are starting to acknowledge that audiences have shorter attention spans, so TED style 20-30 minute sessions have crept into Agendas and invariably work exceptionally well. More please! 9. Hobart: once derided as a tired or unfashionable destination, it was the location I travelled to more than any other in 2015. As anyone who has conferenced there in the last few years will tell you, it’s awesome. In my opinion, MONA is the best museum or evening event location in this country. Go there. 7. Less bullet-points: I’ve been banging on about this for years but slowly I’m seeing companies insisting on more engaging presentations and less reliance on tired PowerPoint. Still a long way to go but the conferences that got it right (presentations with more images and less words) tended to be more engaging. 6. Hotel wifi: some hotels in Australia are still behind the times, but mostly I noticed that wifi was finally free in 2015. 5. CSR: raising money for charity is nothing new to conferences, but I rarely attended a conference in 2015 that didn’t incorporate some element of corporate social responsibility. 4. Younger presenters: maybe it’s a sign of my own aging, but for many years I’d been noticing how younger speakers were entering the speaking circuit. This year Gen Y speakers like Thank-you water’s Daniel Flynn, social entrepreneur Holly Ransom and Brad Smith from Braap MotorCycles were everywhere - and they’re all a breath of fresh air. 3. Conference apps: they’ve have been around for a few years but 2015 seemed like a bite-the-bullet year for many organisations - no more conference booklets and wasted paper. Download the App or miss out. 2. Quinoa at conferences: sausage rolls and party pies still get a lookin, but it was good to see some newer healthy options like quinoa and kale served at the 2015 conference buffet. 1. Uptown funk: the most popular conference theme song of 2015 hands-down. Great song at the start of the year but by year’s end it had been played to death. We killed “Happy” in 2014 the same way. What great song will we overplay in 2016? Stay tuned. Happy New Year. See you at a conference in 2016.
If you are looking for an MC for your next conference or a speaker/trainer on presentation skills or pitching skills, email email@example.com or visit his website at www.andrewklein.com.au.