Observations of a conference

I was reading Presentation Zen last week which coincided with a conference invite for the weekend. The conference exposed lots of different styles of presenters and the memories of the book still fresh in mind, I made few observations. I observed that the most common one was the bulleted list presentations. Since this was a developer conference the other style which was prevalent was the demo style presentation where the presenters either coded or executed something for the demo. Few of the aspects which I felt did not work well were

  • Bulleted lists and crowded slides, people at the back (just 10-12 rows) were able see only blurred lines and the presenter just kept reading and elaborating on each points. This reduced the involvement from the audience.
  • Time overruns, the organizers have spent some time and effort to line up the sessions in the conference. Some presenters went way beyond the given 30 minutes were sent notes to remind them to finish their talk. This spoiled the presenter’s flow to finish on a high note and I was not sure about the attention span of the audience.
  •  Monitor and Lectern placement was in the corner that many presenters had to walk back from the center of the stage to be sure of the content or to turn around and look at the screen after every slide change. This would have halted the train of thoughts for few presenters.

The ones which worked well were

  • The presenter doing a demo, since it was technical it kept everyone glued on to the presentation.
  • Key messages, one presenter mentioned that “make use of open source software for 80% of your needs; for the remaining 20% needs, innovate and give it back to the society”. This message stayed with people and I noticed many people mention this till the end of the day.

Image: ddpavumba / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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