What makes for a conference event with impact? I'm building a list of what works best. What's your most memorable conference event? What delivered the most learning impact? I'll tell you mine; tell us yours in the Comment section.
About ten years ago I attended a presentation by the late Gordon MacKenzie, the "creative enigma" of Hallmark Cards and author of the wonderful book Orbiting the Giant Hairball. He hung a clothesline across the stage at the annual meeting of the Instructional Systems Association and pinned a dozen doodles on 8 1/2" x 11" sheets to it. The audience would point to a sheet, and Gordon would tell its story.
Gordon's stories were heartfelt, emotional, and often very personal. At times it felt like the story was telling Gordon rather than the other way around. Gordon broke into tears several times, and tears streamed down our faces in empathy.
Gordon shared another story with me over lunch. When he started a day with no particular objective, he would tell himself that during the day he was going to be amazed. And he always was. Gordon taught me a lot about feelings and sensitivity to others that day. He also demonstrated that the sequence of stories in a presentation isn't always that important. I mourned when his widow told me Gordon had passed on.