What is a Matter w/Unconferences

I’m sitting at an unconference and really feel compelled to write a note about what is wrong about MOST unconferences I attend…. Here is a definition so we can focus attention on what’s wrong:

An unconference is a conference organized, structured and led by the people attending it. Instead of passive listening, all attendees and organizers are encouraged to become participants, with discussion leaders providing moderation and structure for attendees.

Definition from http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/unconference

The disappointing thing I am finding is almost all of these have too many presenters or panels discussing ‘at me’. There is no true peer-to-peer discussion and/or hands on learning. And more and more of these are having their sessions being planned in advance.

One session at the one where I am currently had the title stated such that an audience was supposed to make decisions on what would be discussed yet the speaker had slides! How in the heck could this person know what was going to be proposed? Rather it was a case of twisting the proposals into what they desired to present.

I want folks planning these to be more conscious of this; please do not call your conference an unconference if you are having people talk at me.

Of course not all unconferences are falling into this trap, but most of those that are not are seeming to be open space events; I love open space, but a good unconference doesn’t have to be this format.

If anyone has a way of finding out beforehand where unconferences actually are falling more into a typical conference format, let me know…

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One thought on “What is a Matter w/Unconferences

  1. Pingback: Organizer’s Take Note: a Plea for Improving Unconferences | Paul Boos' Nimblicious - Making Agility Tasty

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