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symposumI learned good? lessons from the forum/symposium I recently attended. They include several Do’s rather than Dont’s. (They are essentially same.)

Main ideas are:
– Focus on what you can do there, then, only.
1. Recently I went to the forum where moderator and panelists explained what are written in the program for some length.
If you are moderating the panel, and information about the background of the panelists/speakers is available to the audience, you do NOT explain it again, except referring briefly to the program if there is a need.
Same holds true with the panelists/speakers, if that is written in the program, no need to explain it again. What the audience  would like to hear is not your background written everywhere, but your own experience, views and expressions.
2. I sometimes come across with the situation, during Q & A session after the talk,  where audience start by thanking the panelists with great presentation/talk and then go on to questions at length. My preferences is to go straight to the questions you want to ask. You can explain the background of the question after you ask a question, but I do not think you need to express your own appreciation, as you take away time for others.

diversity– Clarify and crystalline the message of the forum/symposium
1. Some symposium tries to cover many issues in the world.
If you do this even with good intentions, the audience tends to leave with almost no impressions, as message gets diluted and they get confused as to what they need to take away.
2. Some symposium tries to have all the people (it almost seemed) related to the issues speak or serve as panelists.
Having so many people (in particular, VIPs) is a mistake many seem to make. Each will have only few minutes to speak, no discussion among the panelists and it tends to get very boring.

– Manage the preparation and the process
1. It is important to inform speakers/panelists the topic, objective, time etc. beforehand. It is better to remind them right before the session. As a speaker, you need to KEEP TIME as requested. This is public speaking 101, I think.
2. It is almost a torture to sit and listen for a few hours. (I learn when I am on the receiving end. When I am a speaker, I get so much adrenalin going, so I do not get bored!)
moderatingYou need to keep the tempo up so that you can keep the audience engaged and not get bored.
3. It is important to grab the audience right from the first sentence/10 seconds… (I just learned this from the show, Notre Dame of Paris I saw two days ago…)

Sometimes I feel I wasted time when I went to such symposium described above, but I learn the good lesson of Don’ts. After that kind of experience, I feel strongly that I should NOT do as they do. (I also learn a great lesson of Do’s as in the show!)

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