[kwlug-disc] New user breakout sessions

unsolicited unsolicited at swiz.ca
Fri May 7 22:55:50 EDT 2010

Raul Suarez wrote, On 05/07/2010 9:18 PM:
> --- On Fri, 5/7/10, Chris Frey <cdfrey at foursquare.net> wrote:
>>> I do notice that even in our regular meetings not
>> everybody is that
>>> engaged with the presentations.
>> If this is the case, and sometimes it is, it might simply be due
>> to the length of the presentation.
> It may be because I'm a keener sitting at the front, but I haven't
> noticed the lack of engagement. On the contrary, specially when
> asking questions.

I have always noticed a lack of engagement. For some, they're just 
waiting for the presentation to be over to get on to the after-meeting 
kibitz. Not saying that's a bad thing.

There has always been a sufficient level of engagement by a sufficient 
number of people, but I've never encountered 100% engagement 100% of 
the time.

> Regarding the length: with 20 minutes presentations we would need
> to have more than one per month, which is not a bad thing but I
> personally haven't ever been bored at an UG presentation.

Discussing 20 minutes, I think, is to go to the opposite extreme. I 
don't think anyone has proposed that. (As the 'main' presentation, vs. 
say, a 'show & tell' item.)

It seems to me that the vast majority of presentations are 1 1/2 - 2 
hours. Starting from whenever 'current business' is completed, we're 
often startled when a presentation completes and it's any amount of 
time prior to 9:00 PM. Even 15 minutes.

Seems to me I remember a suggestion that presentations be kept to an 
hour. Best practices or something? I forget the specifics of that list 

Leaving only an hour for a presentation would allow a variety of in 
between bits to occur (between 'business' and 'main presentation'), 
perhaps some of which new members will always find engaging. Certainly 
it would create a less staid pace. Even if the time were filled with a 
single 20 minute presentation, knowing the time limit up front would 
create both a different feel and a different audience expectation 
(e.g. less deep coverage, less complex subject, etc.). Which wouldn't 
be a bad thing, just a different one.

Alternately, having 2 3/4 hour presentations might also allow a 
variety of subjects, perhaps one of which new members will always find 
engaging. I suspect, though, we are more often starved for presenters 
than overflowing. Current circumstances, booking into next year 
already (?), seem atypical. Perhaps the current trend will continue.

I'm not suggesting there's any preferred format, merely, as you point 
out, there's more than one way to skin a cat.

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