Unconference Quotes








Here are some of my favourite quotes about unconferencing. They offer insights into unconferencing as a way of encouraging self-organised conversations.


“The sum of the expertise of the people in the audience is greater than the sum of the expertise of the people on stage.” Dave Winer (source)


“Unconferences are about empowering attendees to share their expertise. They give participants the opportunity to have an unfiltered exchange of innovative ideas.” Rebecca O. Bagley (source)


“What is an Unconference? It is an exhilarating whirlwind of spontaneity in which participants pitch, select, organize, and deliver sessions all in the same day. A lack of a planned conference agenda keeps audience anticipation high – and organizers a little uncomfortable – right up until the moment it gets published.” Noel Pullen (source)


“The best unconference sessions are led by people who see themselves as facilitating a conversation, not giving a presentation.” Transparency Camp (source)


“If you convene a session, it is your responsibility to “hold the space” for your session. You hold the space by leading a discussion, by posting a “first question,” or by sharing information about your program. Be the shepherd – stay visible, be as involved as necessary, be a beacon of sanity that guides the group.” Kaliya Hamlin from Unconference.net (source)


“All unconferences have good sessions and bad. Ask anyone who has attended one – they’ll tell you about dud topics, confused session organizers, and the guy who kept taking the floor to talk about his company in session after session. For all their benefits, unconferences have their bad moments too.” Scott Berkun (source)


“An unconference creates an egalitarian moment in time where people from all walks of life (and all levels within an organization) can simply share, learn, communicate and grow.” Mitch Joel (source)


“Don’t bother vetting speaker material and judge quality.  Unconference attendees vote with their feet.” FriedBeef.com (source)


“Unconferences are known for their flexibility, creativity and ability to seamlessly change course at any moment.” Meetings Imagined (source)


“We all know the best parts of conferences are, of course, the coffee breaks and social events, where you get a chance to pore over someone’s laptop for 15 minutes and learn one new really cool thing you can actually use, have late-night discussions over serious stuff, helped along by a few drops of amber. Why not just make this the conference itself? Provide coffee and tea all day long, lots of muffins and biscuits.” Ewan McIntish (source)


“Unconference sessions are conversations, not lectures. And if you can…
Speak about your own experiences and knowledge, chip in, and share what you have. Unconferences (unlike most traditional conferences) are for sharing.” Andy Mabbett (source)


A critical view of unconferences…

“Why is it necessary to do away with planned and efficient presentations just to get the discourse going? Unlike dinner conversations, presentations are packaged to deliver clear messages (or ok, should be designed to). Sure, unconferences can begin with presentations but because of the informality of it all, no presentation is ever thought out.” and open the floor. I can do that over a dinner.” Kevin Cheng (source)