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EssentialCommunications

Page history last edited by maymay 8 years, 10 months ago Saved with comment

A part of the very first time slot in the morning and a part of the very last time slot in the afternoon at a KinkForAll unconference are reserved for opening and closing remarks, called essential communications. In a sentence, essential communications (or essential comms for short) are things participants need to know to make sure they can make the most of their time and contribute positively to the environment. That is, "things people need to know to be present at KinkForAll and not break it or themselves."

 

This page makes suggestions as to what information unorganizers should consider making participants aware of when they make essential comms announcements. As a general rule of thumb, remember that essential communications are precisely that: communiqu├ęs considered essential. This is not the time to make long speeches, give a keynote, or wax poetic about a particular topic; essential comms should take an unorganizer no more than 10 minutes on average to get through.

 

An example of opening and closing essential communications can be heard from the recordings of KinkForAll New York City.

 

Opening Essential Communications

 

Part of the very first time slot in the morning is reserved for unorganizers to make announcements as part of their opening essential communications. This is an important opportunity for unorganizers to start the unconference off on the right foot. Unorganizers should take this opportunity to announce event-specific details, such as the name (SSID) of the Wi-Fi network, rules specific to the venue, and any other details.

 

Goals of Opening Essential Comms

 

Unorganizers have three primary goals in making opening essential communications at a local KinkForAll:

 

  1. To inform participants of logistical concerns: event-specific details and venue rules need to be announced.
  2. To orient newcomers and foster rapport: creating a welcoming atmosphere and "breaking the ice" helps people relax and enjoy themselves despite not knowing exactly what is still to come.
  3. To set the tone of the event: KinkForAll is a space where people should feel encouraged to be the change they want to see in the world.

 

Here is a suggested outline you can cover that is applicable to most KinkForAll unconferences:

 

  • Welcome everyone and thank them for coming.
    • Acknowledge the support of sponsors, if any. Be certain to say and/or spell their Web site domain names, if applicable.
    • Acknowledge the support of donors, if any. No need to name names, although everyone appreciates getting a shout-out.
  • Introduce event-specific details for the unconference:
    • Briefly provide network access details such as the name of the Wi-Fi network. You may also consider reciting the following:
      • "We know that many people here are technically savvy, and we ask that you please not abuse our network or use our limited bandwidth to download the latest episode from your favorite TV series. Please share generously."
    • Point out the location of presentation rooms, the social space, the toilets and washrooms, or any other important facilities available at your venue.
    • Clearly communicate venue rules.
    • Point out the schedule grid and encourage participants in attendance to sign up to lead sessions.
  • Review the basics of the KinkForAll event format and offer advice:
    • The timeframe is strict and so session leaders will need to strike a balance between getting to say what they wanted and moving forward through the day. Flexibility is key.
      • Presentations are 20 minutes long, including introductions, question and answer, and discussion time. Unless the room you're in is unscheduled during the next time slot, respectfully cede the floor to the next session leader.
      • There is zero down-time between presentations.
    • When presenting, don't feel swayed if your audience is typing or coming-and-going throughout your presentation. See also Setting Up A Backchannel. If you wish not to have your presentation recorded, remember that you need to opt-out as you begin.
    • When in the audience, give the presenter the floor and let them speak unless and until they solicit your feedback, questions, or encourage your input in the discussion. That said, feel free to move about at will; if you're bored half-way through a presentation, quietly rise and visit another session.
    • No sex or play is to occur during a KinkForAll itself. If there are after-parties later in the evening, plug them as an alternative. See also this FAQ.
    • Be mindful not to photograph participants who have signaled a desire to abstain from photographs. See also this FAQ. Sensibly, audience members should remain mindful not to photograph such presenters, either, and should be aware that their participation in any session that is being recorded constitutes implicit consent to be recorded in whatever way the session is being documented.
    • Participants currently present are the stewards of essential comms information and their behavior will function as the communication of these essential points to participants who arrive later in the day, having missed these remarks.
  • Point out unorganizers, volunteer contact points, and venue staff, if any:
    • Who is your primary venue contact?
    • Who is your lead tech person?
    • Who are your timekeepers?
    • Enroll greeters (if you think they will be useful). 
    • If you encounter issues, try to deal with them yourself you are more capable than you may have previously believed. Escalate the issue only if necessary.
  • Most of all, relax and have fun!

 

Closing Essential Communications

 

After the final presentation time slots, an additional 20 minute time slot should be reserved for an event debriefing. Unorganizers should take these closing essential communications as an opportunity to regroup, to help people to wind down after the intense day, and to end the unconference on a positive note.

 

It's important that closing essential comms remain positive, regardless of any negative events during the day. If there were serious issues, address them, but do so constructively and with an eye toward providing a solution rather than blaming people for problems. Remember that the nature of KinkForAll is ideally suited for incrementally and consistently improving itself; if you can't think of something to improve, ask around for the opinions of others, and then consider all suggestions critically.

 

Here are some suggested remarks that typically apply to all KinkForAlls:

 

  • Ask for a cheer from the audience: "Did you have a good time today?" This rallies people together and brings everyone's attention to the fact that things are ending.
  • Reiterate thanks for sponsors, donors, and volunteering participants.
  • Encourage participants to upload any media they collected throughout the course of the KinkForAll. The close of one event is not the end, it is just the beginning.
    • Remind everyone of the tag for the local KinkForAll. Media should always be tagged with both the event-specific tag and the global tag 'KinkForAll'.
  • Encourage those who were unable to secure a slot on the schedule grid to arrive earlier next time!
  • Participants of this event are now uniquely capable of helping to unorganize the next event. Invite them to step up and make next time even better!
    • This is a good opportunity for someone to nominate an individual (or themselves) to lead unorganizing efforts for next time. The unorganizers offering remarks during closing essential communications should offer their support to the nominated individual(s). In turn, the nominated individuals will offer unorganizing support for whoever is nominated at the end of the unconference they help produce.

 

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