TED-style conference presentations have real value in an age of attendees with short attention spans and a need for more engaging content, according to events professionals attending MPI’s EMEC 2014 in Istanbul, Turkey, reports Magda Ibrahim.
The format, which allows speakers either three-, nine-, or 18-minute time slots, ensures ’clarity’ and can encourage greater engagement, EIBTM Senior Event Director Graeme Barnett told CN.
Meanwhile, in an exhibition setting, the TED format allows attendees more time on the show floor, which benefits exhibitors, he added.
The opportunities to learn from TED conferences was examined by communications expert Lars Sudmann (pictured) and TEDx independent organiser Ali Ustundag in an EMEC 2014 session on 24 February.
Highlighting the need to sharpen concepts and distill key messages, Sudmann argued that the focus of TED and TEDx talks was their key strength.
Sudmann revealed that each TED talk has four key elements which ensure its success, in addition to brevity.
1. Appeal to the head: data needn’t be boring if presented in a more engaging way.
2. Appeal to the heart: personal stories touch emotions.
3. Humour: the average TED talk has 1.6 laughs per minute, but use humour to make content more digestible, not for its own sake.
4. Heavy duty: dream big with content and create the best talk ever given.
Sallie Coventry, Portfolio Director for the IBTM global events portfolio, added that the TED format can be useful, as “people’s attention spans can be pretty poor”.
“An 18-minute focused presentation, with a chance for a really good Q&A is appealing,” she added.
Meanwhile, Leeds Metropolitan University Principal Lecturer Jackie Mulligan, Director of the International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality, added: “The key learning point for me is the concise nature of the message, and the inspirational learning. There is always going to be a need to explore messages in more depth, so there is never a one-size fits all.”
EMEC 2014 is at the Halic Congress Center in Istanbul until 25 February.
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