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The problems with traditional conference formats by Ann C. Baker, Patricia I. jensen, and David A. Kolb

 


AuthorAnn C. Baker, Patricia I. jensen, and David A. Kolb 
Search Amazon.comAnn C. Baker, Patricia I. jensen, and David A. Kolb 
Search Amazon.co.ukAnn C. Baker, Patricia I. jensen, and David A. Kolb 
SourceConversational Learning: An Experiential Approach to Knowledge Creation 
CategoriesConversation
OtherQuotations

The traditional conference format is all too familiar.

Conferences open in large plenary sessions with a few experts speaking to the crowd, the participants seated in rows of chairs too close together, and then there are break-out sessions where experts speak to smaller groups of people, seated once again in rows with little opportunity for interaction or conversation except for brief questions and answers.

Ironically, the most substantial conversations at conferences occur informally during the coffee breaks, meals, and cocktail hours rather than during the formal meeting times.

The challenge that faces conference planners is how to bring new life and energy into the formal sessions.

Conference participants usually attend meetings and conferences to meet new people, to get together with old friends and colleagues, to make connections with individuals they have heard about, to learn about what is new in their field, to learn about things they need to know, to network, and to learn about new ideas and ways of getting things done.

Yet when conference participants sit in rows and get talked at hour after hour in dark rooms where slides and overheads are all they can see, people get bored, feel disconnected, and may feel they are not getting what they want and need.

Moreover, when new participants enter this kind of conference arena they may often find it difficult to make the initial connections that would help them feel comfortable enough to want to return to subsequent meetings.



Video: Conference Conversations: KC UK 2007



One thing a chairperson can easily do at a conference do make them more engaging and interactive is to allow the participants to have a short conversation with each other after a speaker has finished their talk but before entering the Q&A.

Here is a short video of people doing this at the Ark Groups KC UK Conference in London in June 2007.

It works amazingly well.

Media Information: Image


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Quotations from Ann C. Baker, Patricia I. jensen, and David A. Kolb:

 The traditional conference format is all too familiar.

Conferences open in large plenary sessions with a few experts speaking to the crowd, the participants seated in rows of chairs too close together, and then there are break-out sessions where experts speak to smaller groups of people, seated once again in rows with little opportunity for interaction or conversation except for brief questions and answers.

Ironically, the most substantial conversations at conferences occur informally during the coffee breaks, meals, and cocktail hours rather than during the formal meeting times.

The challenge that faces conference planners is how to bring new life and energy into the formal sessions.

Conference participants usually attend meetings and conferences to meet new people, to get together with old friends and colleagues, to make connections with individuals they have heard about, to learn about what is new in their field, to learn about things they need to know, to network, and to learn about new ideas and ways of getting things done.

Yet when conference participants sit in rows and get talked at hour after hour in dark rooms where slides and overheads are all they can see, people get bored, feel disconnected, and may feel they are not getting what they want and need.

Moreover, when new participants enter this kind of conference arena they may often find it difficult to make the initial connections that would help them feel comfortable enough to want to return to subsequent meetings.

Ann C. Baker, Patricia I. jensen, and David A. Kolb 
Conversational Learning: An Experiential Approach to Knowledge Creation 



If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
David Gurteen



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Thursday 21 September 2017
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