E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

Enterprise 2.0 Conference Highlights – The Networking – Part III

Enterprise 2.0 - 2009 - Boston, MAAnd to finish off this series of Enterprise 2.0 conference highlights from Boston on the topic of networking, here is Part III, last one I had planned to share over here in this blog on this topic, and which will be talking about my thoughts on the networking experience throughout the event itself. More than anything else as part of sharing my two cents on how the overall networking opportunities could be improved in future events. Yes, I know, you can’t get enough networking at these events, so the more we all try to fine tune them, the better, don’t you think?

If you take a look into the agenda from the conference itself, you will notice how packed it is for most of the days and already starting like really early in the morning, till late in the afternoon. Networking opportunities in between sessions are very minimal and this was one of the things that I missed from the event itself. In most cases there are about 15 minutes break in between sessions where folks could interact with one another and follow up conversations.

Well, 15 minutes to make a move to the next session, pack all of our "stuff", have a "nature" break, or enjoy some refreshments, talking to folks about the session we just attended or simply just catching up with them, are probably far too many activities for just 15 minutes in between speaker sessions. So in reality the networking opportunities throughout the conference were very much restricted, if you count lunch as an exception, to the end of the day and as part of the local gatherings from various other networking events.

Not ideal, if you ask me. Don’t you think? So what would I propose, you may be wondering, right? Well, to begin with, I would extend the in between sessions breaks to 30 minutes, minimum, which I do realise would mean that there would need to be a new parallel track of sessions to be added to the already existing one, but I don’t think that would be too much of an issue. If there are conflicts with multiple sessions there is always a chance that video recordings of each and everyone of them would be made available after the event. I mean, for a conference on Enterprise 2.0, I wouldn’t think this would be too difficult, right?

But look at the benefits. You would be allowing folks to engage with the speakers after their sessions to ask additional questions, have some conversations on the corridors catching up with people and discussing key learnings from the sessions attended thus far; a quick stop-over the refreshments area to grab a software drink and a quick bite and back to business; and all of that without having the stress of knowing you need to rush off, because you only have 15 minutes. Well, now with 30m. things would be much much easier for everyone. And those networking opportunities will certainly help conference attendees to build stronger connections amongst themselves by starting the dialogue throughout the day and carry it on during the evening events.

And all of that with breaks of just 30 minutes in between sessions. I would think it would be very doable for future events, and as such I submitted this very same feedback for future occasions hoping to be able to extend my networking opportunities not just to the evening events, which were all great, but throughout the whole day, which would be more engaging and bumping from one session to the other without time for a breather … What do you think?

And with that I am done with this series of blog posts on the Enterprise 2.0 conference networking activities that we all got to experience last week, where you can see that those face to face interactions are just as good as ever; and as such we should exploit them as much as we possibly can. Now, from here onwards, it will be the time for my next round of blog posts detailing the highlights of the sessions I attended and what I learned from each and everyone of them… Another interesting ride I hope you will enjoy reading about, just as much as I did attending them…

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  1. Luis:

    Agreed on the more time in between sessions. Those dedicated to networking would take 30 minutes regardless of the schedule causing them to miss the session or walk in late.

    The dedicated networkers will find a way to network, no matter what the schedule says. But for those who are a little shy or structured, more flexibility would help.


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