Presenters build communities

April 5, 2011

We're noticing a growing trend this year among conference presenters. They are strengthening the communities of events they speak at in several interesting ways...

Last week, members of the information architecture community came together for their international summit. IAs, user experience designers and content strategists travel from the far corners of the world to attend this annual event. Like most professionals, they take great interest in the work of their colleagues, and also recognize and celebrate the perspectives of such a diverse membership. Knowing that those who could not attend would be interested in the proceedings, speakers quickly uploaded and tagged their presentations. This tagging organically created an archive of the event. Pretty standard stuff for an event whose speakers publish presentations on SlideShare.

But this is what caught our attention: two of its participants took the initiative to create chronological lists of all uploaded presentations. Martin Belam of Guardian News & Media in the UK says:

"If you couldn’t get to the IA Summit in Denver this year, or if you fancy reliving your favourite presentation, or flicking through the slides from some of the sessions you didn’t see, then here is a (probably futile) attempt to gather together the blog posts or linklogs or slides that went with each of the talks."

Holger Maassen of Germany also created a list of the presentations and posted it on his blog saying:

"Two workshop days and then three days with great talks offered an opportunity to bring people together who are up to now not yet well acquainted with one another."

These chronological lists are a wonderful way to keep the community connected. They also provide momentum for the event, long after everyone has gone home.

Building a body of knowledge
Have you ever attended a presentation that inspired you to move the topic farther forward? Leslie Carothers did just that, expressing her appreciation with a public shout out to the original presenter:
Leslie Carothers tweet

Crowdsourcing presentation ideas
What about the early stages of creating a presentation? Sometimes self-doubt needs a little kick from the community. Cory Ferber brainstormed a topic with his Twitter followers in anticipation of Web 2.0 Expo:
Cory Ferber tweet

Shel Israel understands the power of community. In preparation for his keynote address at Radio Ink's Convergence 11, the author and well-recognized speaker asked for input from his Twitter community:
Shel Israel tweet

When members of any community help each other become stronger, the whole community benefits. Thank you to all the presenters and audience members who take the time to share and build upon each others' work. As our friend Lou Rosenfeld reminded us in his closing keynote at IA Summit, "a rising tide lifts all boats." If you have ideas and experiences for growing communities through presentations, please let us know in the comments below.