129. In Favor Of Changing Conference Programs To Consisting Of Titles Only

Ok, I got carried away by the analogy a bit. Back to conference programs.

It’s a (maybe digital) booklet with text snippets and “teasers”.

Now, I suggest that we try to do it differently.

Anyway. Back on point.

  • It is not industry-specific. Everyone in every field feels that their field is too complex to simplify, yet people manage all the time. Let’s train them, and change the standard.
  • It changes the workload of the organisers AND the program contributors. Gone are tug-of-wars about getting those pesky 125 words that describe whether AI: Advanced is actually about intelligent killer robots or next-gen hand-held calculators.
  • It is easy to implement, and can have major impact. It requires LESS work from people, not more, and will give conference participants less information overload, while (hopefully!) providing them with better overview info.
  • It makes contribution easier. Suddenly, a workshop engagement goes “Hey, do you want to do this? You have this time and space at your disposal. How about this title? Cool? Cool. See you there.” instead of involving informative writing.
  • It rewards interesting-sounding program items. I know this may be an unpopular opinion, but I’ve found a reasonable correlation between people who can hook me with a title and people who can reel me in with their content. It’s not 100% but it’s far from zero!
  • It means people have to lie less, and I see that as positive. Admitting you haven’t read the program but just skimmed titles and names? It’s quite common, but not socially accepted. This way, it becomes entirely legitimate, leading to more honest discussion about the program. It may sound like a strange point, but it’s one I’ve seen in action time and time again.

And if you’re honest, didn’t you get most of this post’s point just from reading the title?



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Claus Raasted

Claus Raasted


Director at The College of Extraordinary Experiences, Coach at McKinsey. Author of 34 books.