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May 9, 2017

Americas: Adventures in Conferencing: Why You Should Let Loose Your Inner Themer

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Over the last 12 years, I’ve spoken at somewhere north of 500 conferences. With that many under my belt, it’s natural that some are more memorable than others. For example, I remember the one that was cancelled due to riots—but mostly because I promised my wife a long time ago that I would stop participating in riots. I also remember the time I arrived to the Austin airport at 4 a.m. after six hours of plane delays and managed to catch 45 minutes of sleep before my morning keynote. Unique experiences tend to stand out.

That’s why I can’t say enough about the value of giving your next meeting a theme. While I can’t give you a lot of details about most of the conferences I attended in 2011, I could bore you to death with the details of my first (and so far only) Renaissance-themed conference—for a tech company, by the way, which is about as far from the Renaissance as you can get. But that didn’t stop them from having dragons, a gigantic portcullis made out of balloons, and two actors in Shakespearean garb wandering around saying “prithee” and “wherefore” while bowing and curtseying. The pageboy/minstrel outfit they asked me to wear while I gave my presentation is still one of my favorite things I’ve worn on stage.

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