Looking ahead to 2011’s hot conference topics and themes

9 02 2011

Having looked back at 2010, it’s the perfect opportunity to reignite our tradition of outlining our thoughts on the hot topics and themes in this year’s conference landscape. They are below in no particular order:

As you can see there are a few old favourites on here but also some new arrivals. We’d love to get your thoughts in the comments on whether we’ve missed any or even got some wrong.

Personally I’m really excited by the mobile and apps space at the moment, there’s so much innovative stuff going on – dual core phones, connected everything and new device formats. However, there’s increasing crossover between these topics, apps are, of course, available in your mobile, but now apple has launched the Mac app store, Google launched the Chrome Web Store and Amazon has hinted heavily that there’s an Amazon Appstore on the way too. I can also access Dropbox on my phone, edit my Google Docs and use other cloud services on the move; there’s going to be a real challenge around the ‘liquid experience’ whereby my apps look familiar and interact with each other across platforms.

These game changing advances and disruptors like the iPad will continue to drive conference agendas as senior management is put under increasing pressure to keep up in the social media age. This should see attendance rates remaining high at industry leading events and a great deal of press and media interest in conference content as the consumerisation of IT marches on.

However, we’re also likely to see some conference producers attempting to cash in on these trends, launching new, low quality events pandering to the latest trends. Knowing how to spot, and avoid these events is key. A specialist agency can help you plan for the year ahead, identify your key targets and evaluate any invitations you might receive to speak at (or even attend) new conferences and ensure that your speaking programme really takes off in 2011.

2010 conference themes recap: mobile

4 02 2011

It’s been a stellar year for mobile! Mobile has gone from strength to strength; the fruition of new technologies like the iPad and 4G has driven huge growth and rapid change in the way we use data and mobile devices. This in turn has translated into more mobile events and increased focus and awareness of mobile on more traditional business and leadership conference agendas.


The exciting developments in the mobile world mean interest is going to continue to grow, particularly with devices becoming more connected and new ways of working, accessing data and consuming content. This has, and will, translate into more mobile events and a great awareness and coverage of mobile on event agendas.

Presenting: the iPad

4 02 2010

I know, I know, another iPad post – don’t worry, I’m only using it as a means of introducing an important topic, I promise!

We’ve seen a lot of people trying to work out exactly who these tablet/slate devices are for and where they’ll be used; one suggestion we’ve seen is in presentations, both at conferences and internally in business settings. Fortunately some have been quick to point out that the benefits beyond a one-on-one meeting will be severely limited (put forward particularly intelligently and eloquently here) and I find myself agreeing that there will be a use for these devices in small internal meetings where the ability to annotate would help clarify rather than confuse a slide.
one-on-one meeting
However, in front of a large business audience at a conference slides should not be annotated or overly complicated. Think of all the great presentations you’ve seen, the most engaging speakers, the conferences you still remember. Chances are all of these presenters had one major thing in common: simple slides, free from excess information, writing and bullet points.

A great example of this comes in the recent movie “up in the air” where Clooney’s character delivers presentations sans slides, using a rucksack as his only visual aid. His presentation is fairly engaging and he gets the audience involved and using both sides of their brain, however, later in the movie he speaks at a larger venue and uses a spinning rucksack as a visual aid on a big screen and suddenly even this simple aid becomes a massive distraction. It’s like trying to watch the television with the sound off whilst listening to your friend speak. It’s all about choosing the best visual for the job, speaking over a video, cluttering your slides and having excess animation will all draw attention from you and your company’s story.

Using simple slides and delivering successful presentations is something we’ll be looking at a lot as it’s one of the hardest skills for a speaker to learn.