silent disco presenting

Silent disco presenting – The pros and cons

On average I present about 100 times per year to groups. Mostly it’s the normal main screen and theatre style setup but yesterday in Auckland New Zealand I had a new experience!

At The office & PA show I presented to the audience in a silent disco format. This is where the audience all have headphones in and are hearing you via them. I learned a few things and wanted to share them with you:

1. Great for the organiser as there is no reason for breakout rooms and everything can take place in one large open plan space
2. The audience can choose to listen in to whatever session they like and could actually be sitting in your session and listening to another!
3. The audience have control of their individual volume and can adjust it independently.

1. There’s a disconnect between the presenter and the audience. It’s a weird non tangible thing but akin to trying to talk to someone with headphones on. So much of our communication as presenters is non verbal and something is lost when you isolate a sense.
2. Using videos as part of your presentation can be confusing as the presenter cannot hear the video.
3. Q&A sessions are difficult as the audience find it hard to talk with headphones in.

Summary: Whilst the Silent Disco Presenting format of meeting offers advantages for event organisers, there are challenges for the presenter but nothing that experience can’t solve!

Author: John Quinn
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