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    NevOn is the archive weblog of Neville Hobson, a British business communicator based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, a record of commentary and conversations from December 2002 until 22 February 2006. This site is no longer updated - please visit www.nevillehobson.com.
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    For Immediate Release: The Hobson & Holtz Report - A bi-weekly podcast for professional communicators from Neville Hobson, ABC, and Shel Holtz, ABC.

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2006 Public Speaking

  • Delivering The New PR – How Blogs, Podcasts and RSS Can Work For You - Manchester, UK, February 15, 2006

    New Communications Forum 2006 - Palo Alto, USA, March 1-3, 2006

    Blogging for Business - London, April 4, 2006

    Summit for the Future on Risk 2006 - Amsterdam, May 3-5, 2006

    IABC International Conference 2006 - Vancouver, Canada, June 4-7, 2006

2005 Public Speaking

  • Les Blogs 2.0 - Paris, December 5-6, 2005

    IABC EuroComm 2005 - Paris, Nov 30 - Dec 2, 2005

    Melcrum workshop on New Media - London, November 29, 2005

    Making the News: Blogging, Really Simple Syndication and The New PR - Sunderland, UK, November 18, 2005

    Emerce E-Day - Amsterdam, October 12, 2005

    Global PR Blog Week 2.0 - September 19-23, 2005

    PodcastCon UK - September 17, 2005

    The Communication Directors' Forum

    New Communications Forum 2005 - Napa, USA, January 26-27, 2005

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31 January 2006



Isn't the average adult attention span 20 minutes or something? I agree with you (and apparently a lot of other people) that participation is the missing key to many conferences. People generally enjoy sharing the knowledge that they've acquired over the years. Why else would we blog?

I think it's about time someone took a look at this "sharing" thing and brought it into a different context, like conferences. Why should conferences be limited to the expertise of one speaker when the room is filled with experts?

I am currently a student, so I've only had the privilege of attending a couple of conferences through internships and other organizations. The entire process seems inefficient.

I would have been upset about the $500 as well. There are improvements to be made in this area. Hopefully we will soon know this as the “old” way of doing things.

Elizabeth Albrycht

Neville - I am so glad that you emphasized the responsibility of the audience. (I am on a responsibility kick lately, mostly about readers...) Too many times, the attendees are doing something else while they are there. Email, mainly. Or they are jumping up every 2 minutes to take a phone call.

If people are going to pay good money to go to a conference, they should get the most out of it. And, yes, the presenters and organizers need to play and/or facilitate that kind of framework.

As a program designer for a conference (NewComm Forum) I was leery of leaving things too open. I have stressed the participatory (and no powerpoint) aspects, while providing a strong framework that more resembles traditional, tracked conferences. This is because my experience with conferences has highlighted a significant lack of interest (or maybe it is fear?) in actually participating by the audience. I feared that leaving things too open ended would result less in chaos than in boredom as people sit around waiting for what comes next.

I suspect we'll see more and more experimentation in conferences as we figure out what works and what doesn't. One thing I am getting a little tired of: 300-500 people in a room having a "conversation." Make it 10-20 people in a room -- then you can have a real dialogue. At least that's my hope for the Forum!


Good points, Emily, which go to the heart of what I do believe is the point here - responsibilities.

Elizabeth, good point about email. I find it a bit disoncerting when you're leading a session and many in the session are doing tjheir email. Illustratuive of two things : 1) The presenter and/or topic are not worth paying attention to, and 2) those doing their email are just rude. Mind you, they could be blogging which in my book is absolutely fine ;)

Also a great point re experimentation. We are seeing that - think about the backchannel at Les Blogs last December, for instance.

I'm looking forward to the Fourm next month. I'm certain this will undoubtedly be a place that demonstrates all the good things discussed here.

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