Tracy Pattin, SizzleintheMiddle.
Seems these “Camp” events are really taking off. From BarCamp to LaidOffCamp to PodCamp. PresentationCampLA (this past Saturday, June 20th at Blank Spaces) is a welcome addition to this lineup of unconferences.
So what is an UNconference? The premise is a dynamic, fluid format where participants participate in every aspect of the day, from designing the schedule to sharing their expertise, ideas and feedback and of course helping with clean-up. There is no pre-arranged format or pre-booked instructors and best of all? No prohibitive cost. They’re either free or very affordable ($10-20) usually with a meal, coffee and snacks. (at BarCamp they even have a scotch tasting and a keg at the end of the day!).
This was my fourth Camp event and I’m hooked. So much so that I’m creating my own camp soon. Founder of PresentationCamp, author of Beyond Bullet Points and owner of BBP Media, Cliff Atkinson, kicked off the day explaining that this is a “self-organizing, collaborative event that is designed to be fun and rewarding with a focus on presentations and public speaking” (Co-facilitator, Colleen Wainwright added her own comedic flair to the intro). Then he threw it open to our group of 30-40 participants to introduce ourselves and share our expectations. This was an eclectic, impressive gathering from marketing executives, to life coaches, authors, tech experts, even a Hollywood acting coach dubbed “The Actor’s Detective.” Some flew in from other states. One woman was from New Zealand!
From there we created the day’s breakdown of 30 minute sessions listing the desired topics on a giant whiteboard. If you don’t want to attend a particular session, you can grab a corner, gather a few people and brainstorm and network with each other or create your own ad hoc session. “And remember”, Cliff reminded us, “you can always ‘vote with your feet.’ “Voting with your feet” means it’s okay to walk out of a session and check out another. No hard feelings.
The first session was with the entire group. A perfect entree to the day. Author Andy Goodman of “Why Bad Presentations Happen to Good Causes” spoke on how to give powerful powerpoint presentations. His unique hook? Research all based on what audiences say about speakers.
Then we broke into different tracks. Marketing mentor Peleg Top gave marketing tips, Terrence McNally taught storytelling, Jeanne Hartman shared improv techniques, Cliff Atkinson gave us insights on self-publishing and mainstream publishing, speaking coach Lisa Braithwaite showed us how to add fun to speeches. I decided to jump in too and shared my knowledge on interviewing and hosting for podcasts and web videos, while BlogHer’s Gena Haskett talked tech tips. Personal Training in Social Media Networking expert, Jodi Womack shared how to start networking groups as her Ojai Women’s Business Social is taking off. Husband and author/international speaker/presenter Jason Womak was our resident photographer, documenting the day.
Of course in true Social Media fashion, we were all tweeting away sharing our experiences with the cyber audience. Cliff gave a session on webinars interacting with that cyber audience.
The day came full circle as we came back around the conference table to debrief, (no long evaluation forms to fill out!) sharing what worked and what could have worked better. All in all, I’d say we all got what we came for. We learned a lot, shared our expertise, met great people, had fun and most likely gained new friends and colleagues for the long haul. Oh, and we all helped with clean-up!
So, look for the next PresentationCamp, any of the other Camps or who knows? Maybe you’ll create your own SomethingCamp!
Filed under: In The Field, BarCamp, Events, motivators, presentations, seminars, speakers