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More Schmooze, Less Snooze: How to Deliver "The Most Talked About" Conference Session

by David Spark on June 4, 2007

Do you feel that most conference sessions are boring beyond belief? Are you a conference producer, a moderator on panels, a panelist, or a conference attendee that listens to far too many poorly planned conference sessions? If any of those are true, you’ll want to register to download and read my article “More Schmooze, Less Snooze: How to Deliver “The Most Talked About” Conference Session” here:


The article offers advice to moderators, panelists, and even attendees on how to deliver and participate in a buzz worthy conference session.

Such tips include:

For moderators:

  • Don’t let the panel talk about themselves
  • Your first question should be the title of the session
  • Open the floor immediately to questions
  • Don’t close with the prediction question

For panelists:

  • Ask the audience the question you and your business can solve
  • Give examples from your own experience
  • The audience needs to be told why they need to talk to you after the session

For attendees:

  • Approach speakers before the panel
  • Speak up if the panel is off topic
  • Don’t attend the keynote

This is just a sampling of some of the advice. Please read the “how to” article on the Spark Media Solutions site or just register to download a copy of the article for free here:


I’d love to hear if you have any additional tips.

cc photo credit to The Cable Show.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy Johns June 5, 2007 at 5:08 pm

Insightful article — great basics and expert tips that too many moderators, panelists and attendees do not follow! For panelists, I’d add “focus your message.” What do you want the audience to remember about you and your business? Have no more than three big ideas and make them stick with repetition and examples.

Kristin June 11, 2007 at 5:40 pm

Advice for moderators:

Leave the audience wanting more.


pjk June 13, 2007 at 2:37 pm

Note to Apple: I should not have to attend a keynote two weeks before the launch of a new product to learn that there are no emulators, SDKs or any real developer specifications for the product at all. You should not have the gall to say that I can launch applications day and date with the product release without these tools. Further, if the sole prerelease unit of your product is in the hands of a WSJ reporter and no one else, it doesn’t bode well for developers.

However, if you need to show slides in your presentation, I wish everyone would take a long hard look at the slides behind Steve Jobs. He may rip through 200 of them at a go, but you never feel overwhelmed because they are so simple. If you have a complicated point, break it down. Use 20 slides to describe it one point at a time if you have to. Just don’t spend a minute on each slide.

Great article. I’d like to see panel ratings based on whether they follow these rules or not. Having trimmed back my spending on conferences and increased my reliance on RSS and blog coverage, I want to be able to focus my face-time where it has the highest signal to noise ratio.

mike mcallen June 14, 2007 at 7:14 pm

I once watched in amazement as David stood up during a panel session and berated the panel who did not follow his simple rules.
Frankly, the panel was much much better after his tongue lashing.
It was the first time David really scared me. I hear he is a member of San Franciscos Fight Club. But he would never talk about it and I would never ask.

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