Even Professional Speakers Want More Interactive Meetings

This past summer I had the honor of speaking on the mainstage at Influence 2016, the annual summer conference for the National Speakers Association. It was a thrill to get to bring my message to this audience, and I had a great weekend talking with everyone about why people are leaving traditional institutions, how to bring them back with more opportunities for authentic participation and how to create interactive events.

One of the things that stuck out to me to most from this experience was that even professional speakers want conferences that are more participatory and interactive! In the first days of the conference I started doing some background research, talking with speakers that I was sitting next to about why they come and what they like about Influence. Every one of them said that they really liked the networking aspects and enjoyed the interactive sessions best.

Take that in for a moment. A conference full of professional speakers wants LESS speaking and more interaction. That insight launched my newest research project. I'll be exploring the ways that voluntary and professional associations are changing and being influenced by the decline of institutional participation more generally.

That, in a nutshell, is what this blog is all about. I've launched it as a way to share my research as I'm learning. So keep in mind that the things I share here are simply preliminary findings. I've got a lot of experience and years of research going into what I write, but even I find data in the field that surprises me and forces me to reconsider long-held ideas.

Throughout, I promise to make this blog accessible for lay-people. In other words, this is not the blog where hardcore academics are going to find inspiration. It's a place where good scholarship can meet applied insights and maybe we can even have a conversation or two.

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