Monday, May 17, 2010

The best time to speak at a conference

I've been to a good number of book conferences these past few years. I've observed the following about possible speaking time slots (with respect to the attendees): 

up to 9 a.m.—too early; caffeine hasn’t kicked in for some; people straggle in throughout 
11 a.m.—mind starts to wander to food 
12-1:30 p.m.—competing with lunch is like having a dance-off with Shakira 
2 p.m.—digestion lethargy; they’re not nodding in agreement—just nodding off 
3 p.m.—see 2 p.m. 
4 p.m.—feels like the end of the day even if it isn’t; a time when many slip out 
5 p.m.-7 p.m.—dinner

That means the most desirable slot is 10 a.m. Too late to be groggy, too early to be hungry or leaving.

1/1/22 addendum: Every January for 40+ years, the late, beloved MIT professor Patrick Winston delivered a talk called "How to Speak," in which he said the ideal time to speak was 11 a.m.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

LOVE this, Marc! And it's true - I am going to ALA and want to go see a blogger I like but he's on at 8am. Uh-oh!