Have an Unconference

User-Driven Content Increases Interactivity. Adds Value to Events

The room buzzes with energy. Attendees, active and engaged, cluster in groups in each of four corners. A few individuals float from one group to another. Noticeably absent are speakers, scripted agendas, PowerPoint slides and handouts — yet the conversations propel themselves.

Welcome to the unconference — an offering just finding its way into the world of traditional trade shows and corporate events — where organizers are seeing it as a value-added facet they can offer attendees. Here’s a quick primer.

Unconferences are a method of helping attendees self-organize and drive their own content. Attendees are empowered to decide what they want to discuss — and share their expertise. It’s more structured than a cocktail party, but less than a panel discussion. “It’s a phenomenal networking facilitator where it’s easy and logical to meet people with similar interests,” says Eric Faurot, Senior Vice President of business technology media company TechWeb (www.techweb.com)