Ideas for mini-conference

What would make you interested to attend my mini-conference?

I’ve been wondering about the purpose and intention of the mini conference I will host. I like the framework Howard Rheingold uses for Hosting Good Conversations Online. I also reflected to Jillian Clarke about the questions I have to make invitations more compelling when asking people to engage. I wonder if the reluctance for people to participate could be linked to the quality of the invitation and the level of commitment it offers potential participants to sign up for. It could also be linked to familiarity and ease of use of the tools required to participate. The other thing I often think is unclear is the level of participation expected of a participant. Am I being invited to:

  • listen to an expert,
  • listen to other people discuss a topic,
  • contribute my own ideas,
  • ask questions,
  • receive feedback on my questions,
  • listen to responses to other people’s questions,
  • share my reflections and insights on the patterns I see emerging in the conversation,
  • listen to other people sharing their reflections and insights,
  • voting on topics,
  • making group decisions,
  • collaborate with others to work together on a project,
  • co-create something new
  • make an agreement to meet again?

I think it would help if the invitation made these questions clear. What would make you want to participate?

Would you be interested in co-designing an invitation template for facilitating online events or processes? How could we facilitate this online? How could we invite interested people?

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13 Responses to Ideas for mini-conference

  1. Thanks for a great framework for us to use when planning online events…I think this is really useful 🙂

    So…do you think you will organise a mini event or attend as a participant?

    • markspain says:

      Hi Sarah, thanks for your observations and responsive engagement, ….. without answering my questions. I am planning on organising an event using skype and iMEET! for 90mins but I am trying to find a purpose that will motivate and engage people.

  2. Did you want me to answer the questions…I thought they were more rhetorical?

    • markspain says:

      Hi Sarah, It seems like you are the only one reading this, but as well as stimulating thinking (rhetoric) I was looking for input from potential attendees on what would work for them. Maybe I have not been reliable enough in my blogging to build an audience. I need some participants to run a mini-conference. This blog may not be a good channel to connect with them.

  3. I am reading this too. I am drawing a blank at the moment with answers but I am willing to participate. Do you need another facilitator. I would work on a project with you. All my contact info is on the Wiki.

  4. coachcarole says:

    Hi Mark, these are the elements that entice me to attend an online event:

    # contribute my own ideas,
    # ask questions,
    # receive feedback on my questions,
    # listen to responses to other people’s questions,
    # share my reflections and insights on the patterns I see emerging in the conversation,
    # listen to other people sharing their reflections and insights,

    I don’t much like attending ‘presentations’ that do not allow me to contribute. e.g. I do not like it when the organisers of an Elluminate event turn off the whiteboard tools, the microphones and sometimes event the text chat. That really makes me switch off.

    I choose an event because of its topic of interest to me and the level of interactivity it will provide. That’s why we often run ‘serendipity’ Elluminate events for the Australia Series, where the audience chooses the topic and who will present. We market these in a variety of ways: engaging topic titles; brief and extended descriptions at Learn Central; short catchy notices in Twitter; event widgets in other network spaces are useful (LC provides those now); incidental promotions through other colleagues – send a flyer to a colleague who has a vast PLN and you’ll get more tracking.

    If you want to promote to a particular group of people, then you probably need to do that from within the network or group and get them to do the extended promotions. e.g. the K-12 Online conference

    Hope this helps.

  5. Karen Humber says:

    Hi Mark – I’m also interested in co-faciliatating if you think it can work with three? Just let me know.

    The invitation is like the beginning of the conversation for me in that it is the spark that connects my interest to the event. I just saw an invitation this morning that created that spark for me (or rather for me for my son who is the defined age group) Orlando in Vancouver invitation That’s my first hyperlink in a blog post – hope it works since I’m far from fluent in html! It’s an invitation to share a space with the intention of learning, meeting, listening, having conversations and exploring being yourself. And sets out many of the parameters for creating a community that Howard Rheingold talks about. BTW I couldn’t get your link to his article to work.

    • markspain says:

      Hi Karen, thanks for your offer to co-facilitate. Let’s communicate by email or skype chat to organise a skype call at a good time for each of us. Thanks for letting me know about the broken link. I’ve fixed it now. It had two http://'s! I also think the powerful element of the Orlando invitation is the questions …. “Some questions that have inspired the theme of the lecture are:

      – What agreements do I have to make in order to fully be myself?
      – What does it mean to be alive in this time?
      – How do we create ways of being together that encourage authenticity and freedom?”

  6. Leigh says:

    Thinking about an event in isolation from the over all mini conference, will likely hurt your potential reach in terms of audience. I personally look at an over all conference website, judge its design and general topics, before I commit to reading the program in any detail. How your event stands out, compliments, or works in with that program will determine if I join in or not.

    • markspain says:

      Thanks Leigh. Amongst all the noise it is the overarching clarity of the concept that makes a program attractive. I think, on this one, I am driven more by the concept of running a mini-conference for the learning experience rather than for providing a special offering for a unique target group in its life as a growing community. It would be nice to meet both purposes if it emerges in the co-design process.

  7. Pingback: When does facilitation start? | Mark Spain's Blog

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