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The changing face of knowledge sharing events

Nick Gold, managing director at Speakers Corner, says the conference landscape is changing, and we need to keep up.


ngWe live in a defining era where uncertainty is the new norm. Historical precedent or trend analysis no longer provides a model for future direction to underpin decision making. 

Where digitisation, data and opinion are ubiquitous, differing opinions and thoughts can be immediately sourced.  

The problem with this information surplus comes from one-sided conversations where the writer states their opinion and, while the below the line message board allows the reader a right to reply, this is very rarely a productive discourse. It more often performs as a platform for people to vent and refute.  

In turn, the world of events, where knowledge is shared and discussed, needs to react critically.  We at Speakers Corner work with the most incredible speakers and thinkers who deliver amazing content to an audience but, I am increasingly questioning whether the term ‘keynote speaker session’ is what a true knowledge sharing event is looking for.  

In a world where we are encouraged to form our own opinions - with no right or wrong answers or predictions of future direction - surely these sessions should be the start of conversations.  

The speaker on the stage moderating the session could deliver a much shorter (and one could say TED style) presentation where they share their thoughts, stories, ideas to the audience. From here, an in-depth discussion between the speaker and the audience can take place.  

The session would anchor around exploration of the thesis or ideas the speaker has presented.  There would be no definitive conclusions presented, but instead act as a platform for individuals with some commonality (even if this is just attending the same event) to listen to and discuss a range of opinions about the subject matter brought by the speaker.  

This is true knowledge sharing, where it is no longer a ‘teacher/student’ relationship but rather the process of instigating, provoking and moderating a discussion. All people involved can learning from each other and form opinions and ideas that may not have arisen in isolation.