10, 11, 12, 13…
I found myself counting the ceiling tiles. It was the only thing I could do to keep myself awake because I was so bored.
I didn’t want to become one of the conference walking dead infected with the boredom virus. I had to force myself to pay attention. But it wasn’t working.
Creating Zombie Attendees
I looked around the room and saw that dead-zombie look on the majority of faces. We were all infected by the presentation boredom virus. We had been bitten by the boredom bug.
We all stared lifelessly at the speaker. Our eyes glazed over as our brains wandered. Occasionally our heads bobbed up and down, not to show faux agreement, but because we’d fallen asleep with our eyes wide open.
Our faces were devoid of emotions. Our bodies were rigid as we sat still. We inwardly groaned in pain as we sat silently. Frequently, our bodies jerked because we’d been sitting too long in one position listening to monotonous monologues by seemingly severed talking heads.
We were salivating for something exciting and different. We needed something to excite our brains. We were craving lively education experiences.
Once the session ended, we got up as a zombie army and moved in unison to the next education session. Some of us limped as our feet have fallen asleep. We were the walking dead.
What created this zombie army? Boring conference education!
Bad And Boring Education Is Unacceptable
Bad presentations are not acceptable. But boring presentations are.
People don’t deliberately present bad instruction. But they do deliberately present boring instruction.
Why is it acceptable for speakers to offer boring presentations? Why do conference organizers allow for average, mediocre, wet Melba Toast flavored boring presentations?
You’re probably saying, “We don’t allow boring presentations. Everyone knows boring instruction is bad.”
Do they really know that? If that’s true, why is it so prevalent at most conferences? Why are boring speakers the norm at conferences?
Boring Presentations Are Not Effective
Boring presentations are not effective.
Attendees muddle through multiple boring sessions. Their attention wanes. Their minds wander.
Countless conference hours are wasted due to boring, ineffective presentations. Attendees will only put up with so much boring information before they are ready to revolt.
Attendees are ready to escape to something else as quickly as possible. Little information is retained. Little learning occurs.
Most conference education is boring. Boring is bad!
Boring presentations lead to a lack of results. A lack of results leads to less registrations the next year. Fewer registrations lead to less revenue. Less revenue leads to cuts in programs and services.
Boring presentations are bad!
Entertaining Presentations Don’t Always Mean Good
Presentations that are entertaining don’t automatically equal good instruction.
When attendees have a good time in an education session, they rate the session high. They enjoy the laughter and motivation.
But entertaining presentations don’t automatically change attitudes, behaviors and skills. Entertainment does not automatically lead to learning. Entertaining presentations are just more fun.
Providing lively education experiences is a worthy goal. Boring is bad for conferences. Bored attendees don’t learn.
However, learning should be fun!
What can conference organizers do to limit boring presentations? What are some things presenters can do to create lively, engaging presentations?