Just a quick after-action review from STAREast —
Overall it was a great experience. Alan Page has his lightning talk up on-line in English Prose; Michael Bolton has his as a powerpoint (look for his May 27 Post), and I integrated mine into the post Conferences II.
One thing I tried this year that was different was outlawing power point; each speaker had to present using only words, markers and paper.
Of course, the audience would expect powerpoint, so for each speaker we had an intro slide on a black background with white letters – name, title, company, and logo. Then after that I had a completely black slide.
Switching to completely black messed with the projector; it thought there was no content. So I had to change the slides to very-very-very dark grey.
Overall, I think it was distracting. Next time, I will either allow powerpoint from the presenters, or have none at all. It was a nice experiment, but the middle road is often not the best one. 🙂
Another thing I tried was to shorten then intro/conclusion, run the talks as fast as possible, and, time permitting, shim in a tenth talk. This gave the audience the maximum amount of content for the time.
Sadly, this means we missed a few things (like “Can we get a round of applause for all the speakers?”) and I think the audience missed some closure.
So, as great as Michael Bolton’s second speech was, I think that in the future I will stick with nine.
Oh, and I give away a noisemaker, which never seems to go well. I need to just go buy a gong.
(Some people who were at STAREast will reply “Matt, what are you talking about? The LT’s were great!” And perhaps you are right. Still, I’ve heard a title for people who aren’t self-critical and constantly trying to improve – and that title is ‘Amateur’ …)