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Announcing the “D&D Showcase” at NCDD Seattle

Friday, October 12th, 4:30-6:00 pm

During the reception at this year’s conference, we’re excited to be holding a “D&D Showcase.” The Showcase is a high-energy activity that provides a way for about 25 people in our field to introduce their work and their ideas to the majority of conference participants. It’s a fun way for conference-goers to meet some of the movers-and-shakers in our field, and hear about some of their latest projects, programs and tools.

Here’s a great video of Kai Degner giving his “spiel” at the well-received Showcase event at the 2008 NCDD conference in Austin…

Kai’s video is also here.  Also see Janette Hartz-Karp and Brian Sullivan presenting at the 2008 Showcase event (we called it the “D&D Marketplace”) here, and check out the video of Noam Shore, Lucas Cioffi, and Wayne Burke presenting their online tools here.

Here’s how the Showcase will work…

During this 90-minute session, conference participants will stroll around the ballroom, perusing the Showcase posters, picking up handouts, and talking to presenters. We’ll also have finger foods and beverages available (and a cash bar), adding to the social atmosphere of the session.

The conference planning team is selecting people to present during the D&D Showcase who are passionate about sharing tools and programs we know will interest our attendees. The presenters, who will be prepared to give short spiels on their Showcase topic, will strike up conversations with participants who are strolling around the room, perusing the wares. No timers or buzzers are involved.

Presenters are asked to display “posters” during the Showcase (more on this below), and to provide handouts for participants who are interested in learning more. Showcase presenters should be ready to succinctly express what’s important for conference participants to know about their resource, method, research, program, etc. and to elaborate and answer any questions people may have.

During the Showcase, most tables will be removed from the ballroom so people have room to move about. Showcase presenters will be stationed throughout the room, standing at a cafe or cocktail table where they can display info and handouts, and laptops if they have something to share online or on their computers. We will provide every Showcase presenter with a sign with their topic on it.

What we ask of Showcase presenters…

  • Prepare a quick spiel or “elevator speech” about your Showcase topic that will get people interested in learning more. Practice it until it comes out naturally!  We suggest you prepare several spiels of different lengths (30 seconds, 1 minute, etc.) so you can adjust quickly to different circumstances during the Showcase.
  • Prepare a visually interesting poster and bring it with you to the conference (details and options below).
  • Bring handouts about your program, method, online tool, publication, etc. that include further details. Include your contact information and web address on your handouts, or provide a stack of your business cards.
  • Show up for the Showcase session at least 20 minutes early (by 4:10pm) so we have time to make sure everyone is set up and has everything they need by 4:30.

More about the Posters…

D&D Showcase presenters are asked to prepare posters to help people visualize the program, tool, or project they’re presenting.

We recommend you purchase a bi-fold foam board like this one at Amazon ($13), which is 15″ by 20″ closed, and 30″ by 20″ open. This fits in most suitcases, and you can always cut off an inch or so from the ends if you’re just bringing a carry-on and it’s snug. Prepare your poster in advance of the conference on the display board. If you choose a board that’s just too large for your suitcase, you can ship it to yourself at the hotel so it arrives no later than October 11th.

If you’re local or willing to ship the board, you may want to purchase a larger tri-fold foam display board like this one at Staples ($15). You can also buy a single-pane foam board and score and fold it yourself so it can be propped up on the table.

Your poster content may consist of one large sheet of paper, or you can tack up multiple sheets of smaller paper, photos, diagrams, and cut-outs. The text on your poster should be kept simple, with large type and short phrases. Your poster should NOT consist mainly of pasted-up pages of small type! People should be able to quickly discern your message and determine whether they need to learn more or move on. Although you will be able to walk people through the story/process/concept depicted on your poster during the Showcase and perhaps at other times as well (we’ll try to display them elsewhere on the second and third days of the event), the poster should be able to clearly present the concept on its own.

All D&D Showcase presenters are conference attendees, so must register for the conference.

Sandy Heierbacher is the director of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD). She co-founded NCDD in 2002 with her husband Andy Fluke. Sandy has an M.A. in International Management from SIT Graduate Institute. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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