Top 5 Things to Do During a Boring Conference Presentation

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.


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

What goes on at the conference stays at the conference, okay? So let’s just keep this to ourselves. But I confess that recently I was MC’ing a conference and sitting in a large plenary room, mid-session, during a let’s just say “less than exciting” presentation. Wanting to utilise my time productively, I came up with a list of things to do during a boring conference session to stay awake. By the way, if any of my clients are reading this article, it wasn’t
during one of your conferences, I promise. It was your competitor’s conference. Okay, so here goes…

5. Pretend to be taking notes on your iPad but actually check your emails. Admit it, you’ve all done it. Some of you are doing it right now, reading this very article on your phone or iPad, mid-presentation, while the speaker at the lectern drones on and shows slide after slide of dull bullet points. You could drift off to sleep but instead you’re making use of the 45 minute session by checking your emails. At least you’re being productive. And by the way, the guy sitting next to you is doing the same.

origami4. Presenter Lookalikes Game. Stare at the presenter for a minute. Take a good long look. Ask yourself: Which famous person does he or she look like? Middle aged, grey haired, suave type in a suit. George Clooney, perhaps? Small, thin, balding, wealthy industrialist. Mr Burns from the Simpsons? The woman from Law and Order? Karl Stefanovic? Go on, try it. It’s fun.

3. Pocket Program Origami. Reach into your lanyard. Remove the tiny pocket program. It’s too small to read anyway. Start folding. A plane. A swan. A Lady Gaga costume? At least you’re being creative.

2. Doodle. Technology has virtually rendered the ancient art of conference doodling obsolete. Why doodle when you can tweet or check Facebook? Because at least others in the conference room will think you are diligently taking notes. But actually you are doing that psychedelic maze-like geometric doodle pattern that you used to do during Year 11 Chemistry.

1. Evaluate. Fill out the conference evaluation form and suggest they get more interesting speakers for the 2015 Conference.



This article originally appeared in Business Events News – Australia’s newest publication for the meetings, incentives, conferences and events industry. Brought to you by the same team who produce the country’s most respected travel industry newsletter, Travel Daily, Business Events News will be published three times a week from early 2012.

© Andrew Klein 2014