[To celebrate my first year of programming I will ask a ‘stupid’ questions daily on my blog for a year, to make sure I learn at least 365 new things during my second year as a developer]
This question is more to the readers. I’m really curious! I have been doing a lot of speaking and I have been on the stage a lot since I was little, everything from dancing, reading poems, theater and modeling, and the last few years teaching. Feedback was always very important, and I learned early that you are there to give something to the audience. But what does the audience want, what is this something?
With so many conferences coming up, and trying to decide where to go, I started thinking about what is important for me when it comes to sessions. What I want to get out of a session, what are my expectations and what would be the WOW-factor? I am also very curious if attendants at developer conferences have other expectations than attendants at for example shows (‘pure’ entertainment) or other types of educational sessions.
Here is my wish list:
I want a session that is intriguing from the first time I hear/read about it. I want to look forward to this one, and I want my friends to feel the same way.
The session should be unique – I hate repetitions. The content can be the same, but not the presentation itself.
It has to be entertaining; I need something that will grab my attention. I love it when props are involved and there is movement on the stage.
It has to be funny. Laughing makes me feel welcome and makes me feel good. Good feelings help me remember what the session was about and the information given.
I would love practical tips. This means I won’t go empty handed! I want to get nice tips that I can share with others, so I can basically show that it was worth going there. Doesn’t everybody love giveaways?
The person holding the session should be genuine and feel real, like somebody I know (and that I like). I want eye contact and involvement and a conversational style to the session. I listen to my friends, so if it feels like a friend it is more likely I’ll remember what was said.
Bite-size chunks of information. Information overload makes me feel like I not smart enough to be there and I withdraw from the session mentally as it feels hopeless to absorb everything.
Good theatrical skills! Use of voice, body language etc. is important so I stay awake. I’m so used to movies with skilled actors that watching an unskilled person on stage makes that person fade in comparison.
It has to give a lasting impression. I want to want to tell all my friends, re-tell stories, tips or whatever. This will be conversation material at the next dinner.
And the content has to be good. Great would be awesome, but with the above wishes met ‘good’ would be perceived as great.
So please tell me, what you want out of a session, what would be the WOW-factor, and what would be the WTF’s you would hate to see?