Confessions of a Compulsive Conference-Goer: Angry Birds is the New Doodling

business events logoAndrew writes a monthly column for Business Events News (BEN) called “Confessions of a Compulsive Conference Goer” in which he discusses issues and observations from the conference front-line”
Business Events News is part of the Travel Daily group of publications which also include: Travel Daily, Cruise Weekly & Pharmacy Daily.

Andrew Klein, director of SPIKE Presentations, presents his front line observations on conferences in a regular feature in BEN.

LET me confess. I am writing this article on my ipad whilst sitting up the back of a conference room.

Yes, it’s mid conference, mid presentation and I’m not listening to the speaker. He probably thinks I am, because every minute or angry birds new doodlingso I look up at him politely and feign interest. But after the 38th identical looking bullet-point heavy PowerPoint slide, coupled with the presenter’s half-hearted mono-tonic style, I simply lost interest.

And I can see I’m not alone. The woman next to me is on Facebook. And I can see the guy in front of me is scrolling through Instagram. Nice picture of a chocolate cake mate.

What’s more, I don’t feel guilty about it. It’s the speaker’s fault. If he spent a little more time designing a more engaging presentation and looking a bit more excited to be giving it, we wouldn’t have switched off.

Here lies the irony of technology and social media in the conference world in 2013.

Whereas just a few years ago it was the height of rudeness to be on your phone or device during a session, these days it is actually encouraged as a way to make delegates more engaged.

Conference Apps, conference Twitter hash tags and forwarding Q & A questions via your devices are all becoming standard practice.

The irony is that if the speaker isn’t engaging us, it takes just one tiny finger flick to move from taking notes on your iPad to checking your emails or to move from tweeting key points from a great presentation to playing

Angry Birds during a boring one. And let’s be honest. We’ve all done it.

Back in the day we doodled on a note-pad if the speaker was dull. Now we can run our entire business and social life from the conference room.

So conference speakers, it’s up to you. Ditch the endless bullet-points, throw in a few good photos and short video clips, keep your audience engaged, occupied, interested and participating or else you will lose us.

And if you are currently reading this article whilst sitting in a conference room, don’t forget to look up at the speaker now so you look like you’re focused on their presentation, even though you’re not.

© Andrew Klein 2014