Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Audience participation

Yea or nay?

Reassurance requested:

I'm putting together a conference presentation that I think begs for some good old-fashioned audience participation. Namely, the presentation is structured around 4 discrete paragraphs from the novel my last chapter was about, and I think 1 or 2 should be read out loud by members of the audience. I'm planning to distribute xeroxes and ask for volunteers.

I'm hoping this will work for a few different reasons:

First, the argument is partially about the ways in which this piece of writing is difficult, which include having to punctuate it as you go along, and the ways in which it becomes rhythmic and chant-like. I think getting another reader to enact this difficulty (and hopefully overcome it to some degree) and this effect would make a dramatic and useful point.

Second, this particular conference operates on a seminar model, where I'll be presenting to a group of people who'll all be presenting to each other over the course of three days. I'm presenting on the second day; hopefully we'll either all be comfortable with each other by then, or it'll serve as a belated icebreaker.

Third, our session is 8-10 a.m., all three days! And I'm scheduled to kick off that second morning! Granted, I'll be jetlagged in a good way, but that may not be true for other people, and a little spontaneous performance should wake them up.

There's no reason not to do this, right?


Hilaire said...

I think that sounds like a great idea, given all the things you've outlined here!

JD said...

I'd give you a hearty, even an "everlasting yea" on this idea -- as Hilaire has said, you've made it perfectly clear why it's going to be useful, and even necessary.

Plus, I'd hazard a guess that the people who are likely to volunteer are the ones who will be relaxed from having already presented on the first day -- so you may be able to have a good sense of their reading abilities already. This is wild hypothesizing, and I may be dead wrong -- but it's a thought.

kermitthefrog said...

Yea, verily!
And JD, I will be curious to see whether your hypothesis is true. There may be other people at the session as well, who aren't presenting (although that would mean they'd woken up for an 8 a.m. seminar with a very ordinary-sounding description).

In other, sadder, news, I had to turn down an invitation to eat a turducken. :(

Pilgrim/Heretic said...

Oh, I think this is a brilliant idea. I'd love to see it done in any conference I was attending.

Bardiac said...

I think it's a great idea. MUCH better than another talking head just talking; some participation, some interchange!

kermitthefrog said...

I will certainly report back...

Belle said...

I fourth the idea! I've seen this (audience participation)done at several conferences, and it's been a wonderful break from being lectured at. Or read too.

I hate those sessions where the presenters simply read their stuff... and never look up.