Why plenarys and panels suck

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What are plenaries good for?

  • Top down/one way communication
  • Checking email/facebook
  • Media (and Social Media) Attention
  • Biz card printers
  • Delivering Lectures to scale
  • Getting professional credit
  • Assumed shared experience
  • Audience interaction
  • Easy to check out/opt-out
  • strengthening egos
  • Paid mental holidays
  • Maintaining Hierarchies
  • Powerpoint
  • Perpetuating existing power structures by
    • Allowing for institutional networking
    • Face value and token appreciation (look we have a black woman on our panel!)
    • Refining content for one-way distribution
    • Show and exchange different perspectives within that power structure

What are plenaries bad for?

  • Lack of buy-in, getting shared ownership
  • Participatory learning
  • Going deep
  • Getting work done
  • Inclusiveness
  • Benefiting presenters
  • High participant satisfaction
  • Control of content
  • Building trust

How do we end them:

  • Focus on goals and furthering organisational agendas
  • The need to build real consensus
  • Hack the system - if you have an auditorium with tables get the tables to talk to each other.
  • Have clear outcomes to evaluate the event against
  • Get organisers to realise what real 'shared-ownership' looks like
  • Crowdsource agenda's