What is an Unconference?
Unconferences are events run by participants. Attendees set the agenda for what’s discussed, lead the sessions and workshops that fill the schedule, and create an environment of innovation and productive discussion.
Every unconference is different, but there are some common tips and tricks that you can use to have an awesome experience — whether you’re attending Bmore Historic or any other event like it.
Unconference 101 – Norms & Tips
Proposing & Leading a Good Session
The best unconference sessions are led by people who see themselves as facilitating a conversation, not giving a presentation. Sure, you can start by sharing your experience, challenge, new idea or thesis, but remember to be inclusive of your attendees. Set clear goals at the top of your session, make sure all attendees introduce themselves, assign a notetaker, then let the conversation unfold.
Learn more about how to propose a session.
A Note on the Importance of Notetaking
Bmore Historic encourages participants to contribute to a shared set of notes for each session. Assign a notetaker at the start of your session so folks outside the room (and the event) can benefit from your conversation and those in the room can keep track of the dialogue later.
We use Google Docs to take notes and when Bmore Historic begins you will find a folder to keep and share those notes here.
Being a Good Attendee
Every attendee contributes to the environment and thought-leadership of an unconference. When you walk into a session, remember that you are a participant and not a member of the audience, so be sure to contribute your voice. Ask questions, raise ideas, be brave. If, however, you find that you are contributing a lot and the people around you are staying quiet, step back and give them space to speak. Listening is just as big a part of conversation as speaking.
The Key? Creativity + Comfort
Have fun. Be comfortable. Bring a power point, but go off script. Speak to strangers. Go to a session about something you know nothing about just to learn. Open your mind. Listen. Enjoy yourself.
This introduction to unconferences is adapted from the TransparencyCamp Tips page.