Your agenda is interfering with our important conversation

The Title of the event hit a resonant chord with me at first glance.

I was SO excited to be able to participate in the learning and sharing about this very important issue.

THANK YOU SO MUCH for organizing this event!

Your invitation is so timely and on-point with the significant shift that we are all sensing/experiencing.

I’m now registered and am committed to showing up.

(Fast forward to the day of the event)

I wake up full of energy and excitement that I get to step out of my routine for a few hours to focus on this important issue. I’m certain I will learn a lot.

Upon arrival at the event 15 minutes early, all signs direct me to the “Registration Table” where I sign in and receive a name badge and a packet of paper entitled “AGENDA – NOTES”. I stop by the food table and grab a doughnut and a cup of coffee and find an aisle seat (always my preference for ingress:egress).

There’s not any time to interact with other beyond a wave or shake of a few hands and some long distance nods/winks.

The “Program” begins with the host introducing our “speaker” at great length. By the end of that introduction, the whole crowd is WOWED at the many credentials and accomplishments of this amazing expert. We have high expectations that he will infuse us knowledge and insights that could very well change our lives for the better.

The printed agenda has 6 bullet points, the last of which simply says “Q&A – 5 minutes”.

The Speaker leads off with an appropriate funny story (Checking our pulse and hoping to gain our full attention) and then quickly shifts to one thing I most dreaded might happen . . . 50 minutes of reading the bullet points on the 50 PowerPoint slides that were all in the packet we received upon registration.

Shucks! We could have saved a LOT of time had the speaker just emailed us the packet rather than having us travel to hear him read . . . Death by bullet points.

We survived – There was not a revolution . . . but there was a pervasive tone of under-whelm through the room.

At the end of the presentation, the speaker had missed his timing somewhere along the way, so he was completing his script about the last page of bullet points at exactly the top of the hour (The allotted time was over), and many of the antsy-pantsy attendees jumped to their feet and headed towards the door . . . The speaker acknowledged that his talk had gone long and there wouldn’t be time for the Q&A, but he would stay for a few minutes for those with questions.

This story is not about a specific event, but it IS a story that unfolds all too often.

We, the people, learn more when we are in an environment in which we can learn AND contribute.

We receive a juicy invitation to tackle and important issue, opportunity, or learning, and we show up because we care about that, AND we want to “belong” with others who share this “passion.”

Without human to human interaction, learning is shallow and short-lived . . . new relationships are less likely to happen . . . and the possibility of rich outcomes decreases precipitously.

So . . . I’ve described “The Problem”, and I would be remiss if I weren’t to provide a “solution.”

What if we were to radically change the “Traditional Keynote Speaker” format by using available technology for real dialog with a significant slice of time for this discussion?

  • Identify the Important Theme
  • Issue an invitation to anyone and everyone who cares about this theme to come together to explore issues and opportunities relating to this theme – Including short bio of the expert in the room
  • On the day of the event, at registration, participants receive a one page “Itinerary”
  • 7:30 – 8:00 – Coffee, Doughnuts, and time for curiosity and connection.
  • 8:00 – 8:40
    • State the Theme
    • Introduce the “Bulletin Board” (Yapp App) – Attendees can submit questions throughout the presentation
    • Short Introduction of the “Expert” in the room
    • The Expert imparts his prepared wisdom
  • 8:40 – Open the Marketplace
  • 8:55 – Closing

Ideally, there’d be more than 1 hour – any time beyond an hour would be more time marketplace discussion.

I’m going to be “Test-Firing” this approach at a 2 hour meeting in May with a whole room of experts gathering together to hear from 5 niche experts regarding the growth of Nashville.

Assuming I ‘splained this well enough . . . What are your thoughts?

Published by Barry Owen

Strategist-CEO of Pareto Realty Real estate sales Professional Inviter-Facilitator-Practicer of Open Space Technology Opening safe space for people & organizations to self-organize around issues & opportunities BarryOwen.US Invite-Listen-Love

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