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OPINION30 September 2009

Did you feel the rush?

As a speaker at Annual Conference you’re always faced with what could best be termed as a broad church of delegates, some wildly interested in the subject, some a little curious and some passing through. You can also count on one or two who have turned up to the wrong session but are too exhausted to do anything about it. Not so with Research one day conferences.

You’re much more likely to draw a crowd of senior folk who have a very concentrated interest in the subject matter and who have paid a decent whack to hear some distilled intelligence. And so it was to this audience, at the Research Online Conference, that I presented the Ideas Rush: three presentations, each of five minutes only using only one slide – no builds. This format went down well at the Annual Conference earlier this year. The three highly-pressured and high-energy presenters were Pete Comley from Virtual Surveys, Steven Walden from Beyond Philosophy and Will Goodhand from Ipsos ASI. They proved to be an adept bunch.

Pete gave a heartfelt plea for an end to what he described as “crap” surveys. He choreographed the room with a series of ‘stand up, sit down’ exercises to illustrate his points, suitably reinvigorating delegates after lunch. Steven showcased the power of ‘in the moment’ research. He was a passionate advocate for ditching post-hoc work in favour of testing opinion while respondents were in the act of the very thing researchers wanted to find out about. Finally Will Goodhand, a dab hand at the presentation game, warned delegates against getting too excited by online technologies and methodologies and argued for the primacy of people, creative thinking and ideas over anything else.

Had to dash back to the office after the presentation, but it looked as though there was some really meaty material lined up for the rest of the day. You should have been there.

Were you in the room? What did you think of the session?