/Emergent Leaders Should Ditch Traditional Events And Try An Unconference (via Qpute.com)
Emergent Leaders Should Ditch Traditional Events And Try An Unconference

Emergent Leaders Should Ditch Traditional Events And Try An Unconference (via Qpute.com)


Overhead view on young international people sitting in a circle on the wooden floor. Photo credit: Getty

Getty

The glamour of traditional events, where the audience sits down and the speakers stand on stage, is long gone. Traditional events rely on experts sharing their knowledge from the stage. Typically speakers are unable to determine whether the audience is engaged or if they are simply in the room because their supervisor told them to attend the session.

Some speakers prepare ahead of time, they curate the story, rehearse their body mannerisms before they get on stage, and find the best way to make a memorable first impression. However, there are other speakers who show their unpreparedness on stage. When this occurs, individuals who maintain high expectations pick up subtle cues of uneasiness from the on-stage performance and can quickly become disengaged.

Anyone attending a conference may have spotted the occasional attendee dozing off during a presentation, or having become distracted during an audience poll requiring the use of a smartphone.

What traditional events fail to identify is that emergent leaders want to participate and be heard. Emergent leaders are curious, ambitious, high-performers, and self-driven professionals who aim to shape the world around them instead of allowing existing limitations to shape their path.

Smart audiences know that a polling app will not capture the reasoning behind their voting. Business event organizations need to recognize that there are emergent leaders in the audience who have unique and valuable perspectives that none of the people on the stage share. Yet, often there are limited opportunities within traditional conferences and events where attendees can share their thinking with others.

Emergent leaders enjoy lively conversations where they can explain their ideas, concepts, and strategies. They continuously choose to be active listeners and participants, and they prefer spaces that are inviting and unconventional. This makes “unconferences” the preferred event alternative.

I attended my first unconference, Rise Europe, recently, and it created an environment of trust, deep thought, and challenges that typically do not occur at conferences. It formed a community of respect, admiration, and possibilities where there was no separation between speaker and audience.

An unconference does not have a strict agenda. Everyone is a participant. Each attendee has the opportunity to speak with honesty, and with a degree of vulnerability, about what they know and what new ideas they are looking to convey. The physical setting may not be at a conference hall, instead, it may be a cabin, a house, or even a chateau.

The attendees who want to share their ideas and expertise with others pitch their session at the beginning of each session slot. The audience chooses the session they wish to attend based on the pitch, and the audience breaks into smaller groups.

It is not easy to make a quick decision when two or more sessions pique the interest of the attendees. Often going with a gut feeling is the decision-making factor. Other times attendees compromise in choosing one session in knowing that after attending it, they can connect with the speaker who hosted their secondary option.

The organic unconference structure allows for new sessions to be formed too. If enough audience members are curious about exploring the topic a speaker has already spoken about, the speaker can volunteer to run their session for a second time or provide a complementary variation of it. The topics explored are generated by everyone involved, they can range from quantum computing, user research to the value of first impressions.

In the 1970s musician Brian Eno and artist Peter Schmidt developed oblique strategies to help artists break from creative blocks, by posing challenging constraints, and on occasion shifting their physical environment to get them to participate in lateral thinking. Similarly, unconferences aim to foster original thinking that would not regularly occur in an expected, traditional conference setting. Like freestyle rapping, it involves being in the moment, considering the impact one can have with the people sharing the same space, and letting knowledge and creativity flow.

Photo credit: Cinzia Nespoli


The author attended Rise Europe 2019 unconference hosted by Erik Torenberg, Erika Batista and David Booth.

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Overhead view on young international people sitting in a circle on the wooden floor. Photo credit: Getty

Getty

The glamour of traditional events, where the audience sits down and the speakers stand on stage, is long gone. Traditional events rely on experts sharing their knowledge from the stage. Typically speakers are unable to determine whether the audience is engaged or if they are simply in the room because their supervisor told them to attend the session.

Some speakers prepare ahead of time, they curate the story, rehearse their body mannerisms before they get on stage, and find the best way to make a memorable first impression. However, there are other speakers who show their unpreparedness on stage. When this occurs, individuals who maintain high expectations pick up subtle cues of uneasiness from the on-stage performance and can quickly become disengaged.

Anyone attending a conference may have spotted the occasional attendee dozing off during a presentation, or having become distracted during an audience poll requiring the use of a smartphone.

What traditional events fail to identify is that emergent leaders want to participate and be heard. Emergent leaders are curious, ambitious, high-performers, and self-driven professionals who aim to shape the world around them instead of allowing existing limitations to shape their path.

Smart audiences know that a polling app will not capture the reasoning behind their voting. Business event organizations need to recognize that there are emergent leaders in the audience who have unique and valuable perspectives that none of the people on the stage share. Yet, often there are limited opportunities within traditional conferences and events where attendees can share their thinking with others.

Emergent leaders enjoy lively conversations where they can explain their ideas, concepts, and strategies. They continuously choose to be active listeners and participants, and they prefer spaces that are inviting and unconventional. This makes “unconferences” the preferred event alternative.

I attended my first unconference, Rise Europe, recently, and it created an environment of trust, deep thought, and challenges that typically do not occur at conferences. It formed a community of respect, admiration, and possibilities where there was no separation between speaker and audience.

An unconference does not have a strict agenda. Everyone is a participant. Each attendee has the opportunity to speak with honesty, and with a degree of vulnerability, about what they know and what new ideas they are looking to convey. The physical setting may not be at a conference hall, instead, it may be a cabin, a house, or even a chateau.

The attendees who want to share their ideas and expertise with others pitch their session at the beginning of each session slot. The audience chooses the session they wish to attend based on the pitch, and the audience breaks into smaller groups.

It is not easy to make a quick decision when two or more sessions pique the interest of the attendees. Often going with a gut feeling is the decision-making factor. Other times attendees compromise in choosing one session in knowing that after attending it, they can connect with the speaker who hosted their secondary option.

The organic unconference structure allows for new sessions to be formed too. If enough audience members are curious about exploring the topic a speaker has already spoken about, the speaker can volunteer to run their session for a second time or provide a complementary variation of it. The topics explored are generated by everyone involved, they can range from quantum computing, user research to the value of first impressions.

In the 1970s musician Brian Eno and artist Peter Schmidt developed oblique strategies to help artists break from creative blocks, by posing challenging constraints, and on occasion shifting their physical environment to get them to participate in lateral thinking. Similarly, unconferences aim to foster original thinking that would not regularly occur in an expected, traditional conference setting. Like freestyle rapping, it involves being in the moment, considering the impact one can have with the people sharing the same space, and letting knowledge and creativity flow.

Photo credit: Cinzia Nespoli


The author attended Rise Europe 2019 unconference hosted by Erik Torenberg, Erika Batista and David Booth.


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