If you’ve ever attended a conference or convention of some sort, there’s a chance that you’ve found yourself nodding off, checking your email, tweeting about your weekend plans, and watching the door you have predicted the caterer will walk through any minute.
You came to listen to the flashy keynote speakers enlighten you with their compelling speech topics, hoping that you can figure out how to apply their formula for success to your own endeavours. Instead, you end up staring at their fancy Prezi. You are more fascinated by the way Prezi has managed to make PowerPoint presentations look even more boring, than by the knowledge the keynote is trying to transfer. If this sounds like you at the last conference you attended, maybe it is time to try something new.
The “unconference” is about the get and the give – becoming responsible for your own learning. No more silent audiences, and lots more sharing of ideas, engaging discussion, learning, speaking, showing, and telling. In these professional gatherings, the audience is promoted from passive, note-taking listeners to inspiring, contributing participants. Keynote speakers are replaced by discussion leaders, and visual aids are replaced by conversation. The real benefit comes from acknowledging that the collective expertise of the whole room is much more impactful than a handful of best-selling authors rehashing the contents of their books.