Saturday, 22 October 2011

Social Conferences

Ever had the sensation after a conference that you’ve got an extraordinary amount of information but afterwards it’s difficult to recall the important bits? Or even worst: you don’t conclude concrete outcomes? Receiving information is something totally different than learn from the information received. That’s why I like the social conference format

I read somewhere that a day after any given lesson, seminar or conference you may remember less than 50% of the information received, and after three days you barely recall 15% of what that renowned guru said, gosh what a waste of money and time! That’s the problem of unidirectional information flow at those traditional mega congresses where one single speaker talks to a 500+ overcrowded auditorium. Conclusion: you don’t actually learn anything.

If you tell me something, I may remember it. If you make me practice what you just said, I’ll learn it. If around the topic we build a dialogue where I realise how your idea benefits me, then I’ll never forget it. That’s how our learning process works, we humans are social beings, so why conferences – and education systems – haven’t been?

This is one of the many things I like from Like Minds Conferences, the social learning approach. No massive auditoriums but yes to brilliant minds as speakers with brief – no more than 20 minutes – and substantive presentations. Liked what the speaker said? Great, go and have lunch with him, share your views, discuss with table’s folks which is your take away from the presentation, the speaker for sure acknowledges the feedback.

Want to go really deep in a particular matter from conference’s topics? The Like Minds chaps have invented a formula called “Immersives”: two hours of intensive, in-depth analysis and dialogue about a concrete topic with practical applications for you.

The problem with this approach? Well, after last week’s Like Minds Conference in Exeter my neurons ended up totally fried after 3-day-non-stopping-thinking, but with the rewarding feeling of the social learning experience.

One response to “Social Conferences”

Delfin Vassallo said...

Hi Jeff

Well it seems that you're much more organised than me! :o)

To be honest I never take the time to write down dates of completion, wow