sedlik-miles21The title is a reference to Miles Davis ‘s extraordinary piece « In a Silent Way ».

It is beautiful, fragile, fascinating. The tension is  built up very slowly, by each of the musicians who are  all intensely mindful of one another. We feel captured, raptured and taken to a blissful state…

Would you feel the same if you were attending this new form of corporate event, The Silent Conference?


This video was brought to my attention thanks to Angela Dunn, alias @BlogBrevity, via Twitter directing me to her blog post New « Silent » Multi-Presentation Conference Not Mindful of Speakers.

At first sight, it seems quite strange indeed…and even scary!

A bunch of people with headsets, switching channels and rotating their head, rolling their eyes silently from one presentation’s slides to another…
Not very different of 747 plane passengers, with a fixed menu of DVDs and music playlist they can choose from, completely indifferent to one another, but very close physically.

As I’m writing that post, I’m reminded of one of my favorite animated movie lately, another excellent Pixar movie: Wall-E.

There, the future of humanity is apocalyptic. The planet Earth is a giant bin, deprived of any form of life.The only human survivors are all on a space ship .They have become obese, boneless, passive, spending their days lying on a big « pod « connected to screens feeding them with information, commercials, food and drinks, via headsets & straws.They’re indifferent to one another, unable to even stand up and walk by themselves, glued to their screens…Does it ring a bell?


Where is Miles Davis ‘s magic?

In the silent conference imagined by Patrick Dixon, each speaker is also indifferent to the others and they even cannot actually connect with their audience, who keeps on switching. What a nightmare!

So what’s the point of setting up this sophisticated conference for happy few?

Reading the tweets from Patrick Dixon, the idea was to be innovative and to offer a solution to a problem of limited space. It only shows a part of the event, there were also plenary sessions and an exhibition area. Fair enough.

Overcoming my first negative impression, I can also see the benefits and future developments of this new tool.

  • Imagine the impact it could have, if a real dialogue was to be fostered between people sitting at the same table, and then between the tables?
  • Imagine if people were asked to immediately take action and start working in mini project teams and actively involve themselves personally ?
  • Imagine the possibilities of broadcasting this kind of event in multiple cities at the same time and also facilitating a discussion, an open forum?
    I see huge possibilities and applications ahead!

It’s a reality that people’s attention span is getting shorter and shorter, and long conferences conducted by one single speaker will become more seldom.
People are already switching anyway via their blackberries and their iPhones, iPads, via twitter back Channels!

The future of Presentation is about delivering shorter and more entertaining presentations, making them more personal and interactive.

If you’re planning to give a presentation soon, launching your business and wanting to be more visible, I wrote a series about it : The 6 Trends of Presentations in 2010.

How would it look like? Definitely
not like a PowerPoint, but not like Wall-E either!

Here, I guess the question is :
« When do they take off their headsets and stop acting like robots?!!! »

Waiting eagerly for your thoughts, stories and comments!

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