Conferences Do’s and Don’ts

Tips for conference organisers. Updated Oct 7, 2018

Here are my accumulated experiences from many years of both attending and organizing small and large conferences.

Conferences have not changed their basic formats much in the last 30 years. They are still mostly about one-way communication: a speaker (too often a white male)  telling you his company’s views on things, accompanied by Powerpoint slides. Your role in the audience is to sit still and hope that the speaker will tell you something you don’t know already.
These types of events are inefficient if the goal is to communicate, inspire and create real learning. This format is also increasingly out of synch with all the other evolving forms of media in the internet age, where it is about two-way communication and the users are active participants in creating experiences together with each other and the publishers.

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Loic LeMeur and his wife Geraldine, organizers of LeWeb3

The LeWeb3 was one of the most professionally produced conferences I have attended in several ways.
The video projection was the best I have ever seen and the audio quality was top notch with very engaging musical intros.
I also liked the schedule with lots of time for networking in the coffe and lunch breaks. The lunch offering was a totally staggering buffet of french gourmet cuisine at it best. A two hour lunch break with hundreds of small dishes makes it easy to relax and network!

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Hubbub conference format


Yesterday I moderated the Hubbub ’07 conference in Stockholm, a very energizing experience. The organizers, young college students from Singapore, studying in Sweden in the Nustart programme, impressed me much with their talent and energy. They managed to gather a very interesting mix of speakers, ranging from young startup entrepreneurs with interesting internet services to experienced high-profile serial entrepreneurs like Hjalmar Winblad.

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