Part 1 talked in more general terms about the ways that conferences can be improved. This post will list some specific suggestions as well as some of the software providers who are starting to make it happen.
The basic premise is that if you are going to bring people together to a single location you should maximize the collaboration during that time. Here are some ways.
- Pre-conference lectures via the web can establish a common foundation of knowledge and discussion topics
- Pre-conference online collaboration can help identify interesting people to seek out at the conference and can establish the hot topics that should be covered at the conference
- Collaboration tools can be integrated into the conference as it runs to help people find the right sessions and the right people whom they would like to meet face-to-face. Many of the people who are not speakers are likely experts. Give them a voice too.
- Post-conference the discussion can/should continue. Think about how hard it is to get everyone together once a year. Everyone has to clear their schedule, make travel plans, and incur significant costs. Yet the collaboration is so valuable to us that we overcome that inertia and attend. We, of course, would love to interact with those same people throughout the year if given the chance
Some of the companies/tools focused on this space are:
- Speaker Interactive – providing “Professional Speakers in Digital Form”. Can be helpful in providing presentations ahead of the event or for supporting “online attendees” who could not attend a live event.
- The Social Collective – Facebook and Twitter for conferences
- Crowdvine – Amplify the networking value of your event.
- EventMingle – configurable event based online social networking
- EventChatter – Twitter add-on for tweeting around events
Other services out there that will change conference collaboration in some way?