I am reading the blog post by Jeff Hurt (I wish I got to read this awesome blog while I studied at Uni!) about what is going to happen with conferences – some great insights and thoughts there. For some ideas, like – putting it my way – face-to face meetings are going to be still in demand despite all tech and claims f2f concept is dying, I’ve been its advocate myself for years.
I do believe that face-to-face meetings can not vanish as some thing that has done its time. Because it is deeply in our human nature – to meet in person, to feel a person talking to you, to look into their eyes. There is something on a psychological and physiological level I am sure scientists have already explained that happens when you actually meet up. With all recent technologies that made it almost like you are there even if you are not, this really brings a lot of opportunities but I think will never replace face-to face.
But getting back to Jeff’s predictions. There is another one which actually made me finally write this post. One idea put slightly different, repeatedly appears in some of these 15 predictions: more active participation from participants embedded in a conference model is something that conference organisers should not only think over but urgently exercise.
Active vs passive participation, in different variants, have been discussed for some time already. And I guess if you are on the cutting edge in the industry it is an obvious idea that active participation is a must. Now, even for those who are aware of it, there is still a big question of how. How to make it more active?
I have been thinking about this issue for a while, and reading Jeff’s article just backed up my thinking. He writes, [attendees] ‘want to bring their questions, their doubts, their fears, their experience and their successes to the table’. Exactly. Some may argue, there are some already proven ways to make people share their thoughts, and these work well. Yes, that’s true. But I think the problem might be that these methods and concepts are not truly based on some psychological rules like with f2f meetings case. And therefore, they might not work that well. So what kind of concept would suffice?
I suggest storytelling. Good /already/ old storytelling method. With one tiny nuance: storytelling BY ATTENDEES as a way to better engage them.
Because we all love talking about ourselves. Because storytelling itself is a powerful tool. And it is going to definitely kill several birds with one stone:
- making your attendees talk and engage in a more active way
- making your attendees the experts to share and learn from each other
- making your attendees feel their value and value from attending
- and finally, making your event a success.