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Malofiej 2015 – Should a presenter be trained?

Malofiejratings 2015

WHEN YOU GATHER a lot of creative professionals and let them sit in an auditorium for hours listening to other creative professionals a few things come to mind. Mostly we are there for the content of course, but the style of the presentation matters too. If it was only for the content, we could as well read it in a book and study the details more efficiently at home.

Some presenters and many organizers miss this obvious fact. They think it is in the best interest of everyone, if the room is dark and the presenter sits behind the laptop – and the only thing you can see is the projected image on the screen. This setup does not work.

Malofiej23 was no exception, unfortunately. We had a few presentations that held a lot of potential, but more or less imploded, because the vital connection between the presenter and the audience never happened. What we ended up with was a presenter behind his laptop and a lot of the audience focusing on their own laptops/tablets/smartphones. The future of conferences? I hope not.

Therefore, I want to promise you right here, that whenever I will be involved in organizing a conference, I will make sure to ask how the presenters can be helped and trained into delivering a better show, than they can muster on their own. Watch out …

OK – BACK TO PAMPLONA, where the Danish group always has a busy schedule: Every evening we meet up to discuss what has happened during the day, and we rate each session and share what we learned from each presenter. We put different emphasis on the various elements of the presentation of course, but even if the ratings vary a great deal for some of the presenters, we normally agree on who did the best job.

When the ratings are all completed, we meet Saturday to work with the dataset. We also get a few sets of ratings from some of our friends at Malofiej, who might join us for the discussions or sometimes just rate the sessions in smaller groups of their own. You should really ask to join in next year, if you plan to be in Malofiej 2016.

The assignment this year was very open: You are free to work with the set of ratings in any way you like – it is fine, if you somehow stretch it a bit to get to a result that you normally would not end up with.

HERE ARE THE RESULTS of the work done on Saturday and finished later at home: As you can see this year, the biggest surprise was probably one of the youngest presenters doing the best job. Way to go, Eleanor … You really showed us, that the future of conferences looks bright after all.

To celebrate the inspiration from Eleanor Lutz, who showed several animated gif-graphics in her session, one of the participants decided to try out this format too – well done. Other graphics drew inspiration from the blood-theme of Malofiej23 or explored a karma/energy-theme. The ‘hairy’ graphic in the top of the page, can be seen as a comment on the rather insane datavisualizations, we discussed with John Grimwade in the Masterclass on Saturday. (You need to click the graphics to see them in detail)