I attended TEDx Cambridge this month. While I might be tempted to recap the sessions and the ideas presented, I won’t. What was more unique to me was the experience.
Over the last several years, I was surrounded by live-tweeting at conferences, being always connected, and generally being a social media you-know-what. That will always have its value, but I long ago learned its limits; a little goes a long way.
TEDx Cambridge was a little different; while there was no prohibition on connected devices or Tweeting, and I certainly had my tablet open to use Evernote, the organizers created an atmosphere of attention.
The resulting experience was different; the short, ten – minute presentations, helped by speaker coaching, created their own bubble of concentration, but there was a feeling, I felt, among the crowd that most people didn’t want to be “that person” who was buried in their device rather than the speakers.
Will I share my notes? Nah. The talks are ten minutes, and can easily be digested (though here is a Tweet summary from those who managed to multitask as I did not). Likely, some of them will spur action – whether or not that is reflected in a blog post – but that is for another time.
As for attention: does this mean we should put away our tips at events? Absolutely not. But it does reinforce the notion of balance: balance among listening, notes, and sharing. Everything in its best proportion. Always use your judgment.