In preparing for our Like Minds itinerary this year, I’ve been thinking again about how people learn and how events should help them learn. In particular, I’ve been thinking about a diagram I blogged about almost a year ago now:
This is the cone of learning by Edgar Dale, which says that we remember 10% of what we read, 20% of what we hear, but 70% of what we say and 90% of what we say and do.
This is great news for event producers, right? Because now all we need to do is get our attendees talking and they will start learning more.
Well, it should be great news, but it isn’t. Unfortunately, most events focus on people listening and they are unlikely to change this because we have adopted the view that the best events are those who have the most and best speakers. We don’t have the view that the best events are those which help you learn.
In Let Attendees be Participants, I discussed the major root of this being an obsession with new content. On Twitter we love the newest thing, and it is new content that really drives the Twitter ecosystem. No wonder then that when these same people get together in a room, it’s to hear more of the new stuff.
The reality is, however, that whilst events run in this way might have buzz and get more people along, they don’t help people learn. And ultimately, the only reason people go to the event is about association rather than learning. Essentially, these events become networking events rather than learning or thought leadership events.
I can’t emphasis this enough. Scientifically: if an event is just you listening to speakers, you aren’t learning, and they are ripping you off.
How To Talk
But enough doom and gloom and onto your thoughts and some creative room for us to brainstorm.
My question is this: how should we be talking at events?
At Like Minds Conference last October we did a 20 minute insight, and then we would ask the crowd to turn to the people next to them and discuss what they just heard. In addition, we have facilitators going around who sparked conversation and helped people reflect on the content.
Whilst this was certainly better than the panels that we’ve had last time, I think there is too much start-and-stop for people to really get into things.
What I want to try at our event is having a 2 hour session, during which we will have a number of 20 minute insights, a few interviews, and then time at the end to digest it and reflect the key learnings. But enough of me:
Your Leading Thoughts
- When have you learnt the most at an event? Why did you learn the most then?
- How do you think, as being someone in the crowd, you’d like to interact with content and talk?