I first discovered the Unconference concept when I led a track at #Recruitfest in Toronto. I was taken back by the way discussion flowed and the difference in energy between a traditional conference and an unconference. I led a track all day under a tree and learnt far more than I gave.
2 months later and back in the UK, we ran the first #trulondon at Canary Wharf on November 18th 2009. Since then we have run #tru events in London again (Feb 2010), Madison (USA) despite the ash cloud, Amsterdam and Manchester. #truNora was on the 6′th in the series, with Amsterdam (25th November), Glasgow, Stockholm and back to London on Feb 18′th, 19′th and 20′th in 2011. By 2011, the full #tru collection included over 10 events.
In 2012, we have so far had 10 events and before the end of the year we’ll have hosted #tru unconference in nearly 30 locations in Europe, the US, Africa, Asia, and Australia.
For 2013, we are planning a 100 events, so we will definitely come to city near you!
All events are low cost (£100) and strictly restricted to 100 participants. (We’ve learnt that one). We’ve taken out the frills like lunch, and although we are well supported by our sponsors, will not have exhibition stands or halls as part of the event. Our unsponsors are as much a part of the event as everyone who invests in a ticket.
What is an Unconference?
An unconference is a gathering of minds, experiences and opinions where the attendees (or active participants) lead the conversation. There are 4 simple rules:
1: No Presentations
2: No PowerPoint
3: No Name Badges
4: No Pitching
Apart from that, anything goes. We don’t have presentations because the best knowledge is in the room. By bringing together participants from all kinds of backgrounds with a shared interest. Job Boards, Recruiters (Corporate and Agency), Technologists, Mobile Specialists, Branding Companies and more, all with a shared interest in talent attraction from a different perspective. No talking heads to listen to and nod or nod off.
No PowerPoint because we want the eyes to meet in the middle and everyone to have the floor. Each track, (session), has track leaders with a background in the topic, but their job is to start the conversation, be available for reference and sum things up. The stars always come from the participants. (We select track-leaders from participants at previous events.)
No name badges because we believe that if you don’t know who someone is you should introduce yourself and start talking. No need stare at their chest to work out if they are worth it.
No pitching because we don’t have exhibitions or stands. Any give aways have to be creative and relevant and any product pitching gets shut down by the other participants. People will buy from you if they respect what you say, not what you pitch.
Each track lasts an hour, with 2 or 3 tracks running at the same time. You can move between tracks as you wish, it’s not considered rude and there is no need to stand on ceremony. Get what you want and move on, like an all you can eat buffet!