Conferences, Professional organizations, Work Stuff

Things I hate at conferences

When I got to a conference, I expect that I’ll spend some time being challenged, some time being amused, some time being annoyed and some time relaxing. That’s a given. It’s also a time to renew my “faith” in my profession and to renew my ties to friends (not to mention make new ones). That’s the part I enjoy.

What I hate is paying good money, traveling from home, and having my intelligence insulted. If you’re a presenter, you should have more respect for your audience than some of the people I’ve seen/heard (over all, but also within the past 24 hours).

  • Do not talk your PowerPoint. I can read – I’m a librarian, after all. Show me the slide, but talk around it. Add something to what’s up there. Otherwise, what’s the point in my being there, sitting in an uncomfortable chair, taking notes? If it’s all on your website, I can stay home and get the same thing without all the fuss.
  • Please practice your presentation. Yes, yes, there are the “demo gods” that need to be appeased and tech happens. We’ll understand that. But don’t not know how to go from a slide to the internet to a Quicktime clip. Practice that first. Become fluent with the presentation material and the software, and have a back-up plan for that “oh no” moment with the power fails and the Internet gets broken.
  • Keep the inside jokes to a minimum. If I don’t get it, I’ll feel irritated and not have a good experience with your presentation. And, quite probably, not encourage others to hear what you have to say at other conferences.
  • Don’t assume that everyone in the room shares your biases. You risk alienating people when you do that. Be as inclusive as possible. We may not have your resources, or your abilities. But make us feel as though we do.
  • Do not leave out the “takeaway”. I’m really totally uninterested in what you did great in your school/library/district/continuing ed class/PhD program. I am very interested in what I can do in my school, with my community, and what can I learn from you that makes my practice better. If I can’t walk out with a new idea, a new website, a new tool, a new challenge, I might as well not have come.

3 thoughts on “Things I hate at conferences”

  1. I saw ER tonight after reading this, and it cracked me up. Did you see it? Nila had to give a presentation at a conference, and it was pretty disastrous too. *G*

  2. I’m at the conference, in DC, so no, I didn’t see ER. It’s on tape, though, and I’ll catch it over the weekend.

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