10 great things I’ve seen at con­fer­ences in 2015

Business Events News - - News - An­drew Klein, pro­fes­sional MC and pre­sen­ta­tion skills speaker and di­rec­tor of SPIKE Pre­sen­ta­tions, presents his front line ob­ser­va­tions on con­fer­ences in a reg­u­lar fea­ture in BEN.

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 an­drew@lunch.com.au or visit his web­site at www.an­drewk­lein.com.au.

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