I recently attended two events featuring local writers. Both intended to illuminate the journey of community movers and shakers in hopes of inspiring others. While both events were well-attended only one was a success, the other a disappointment.
The flop was held at a trendy bar to a standing room only crowd. A local author would interview four Reno-well-knowns about their creative journey. The main event was held in a room adjacent to the bar which was packed well before the event started. Those at the bar could watch the interview unfold on the TV screen. While there’s nothing like watching a playoff game in a crowded bar, a talking head interview doesn’t have the same intensity. I could have just have easily watched the same interview while settled in my favorite chair with better popcorn at home on a public access channel.
Adding to the disconnect our host gave such an in-depth introduction of his first speaker, that when she finally spoke it seemed like old news. Or maybe it was the slow pacing of the Q&A format. In any case, despite the fact that the saison on tap was delightful, I couldn’t stay for another speaker or even a second round. I expect according to the bar receipts this event was a success, but in terms of human connection it was a failure.
The Microtalk event at Grassroots Books was a completely different story (not just because I had the chance to meet Ellen Hopkins-though that was a highlight for me). The event was free, but required reservations which allowed Grassroots to gauge crowd control and adjust logistics if needed.
The speaker line-up featured Molly Sheridan, from Desert Sky Adventures, Rebekah Stetson of Urban Roots and NY Times Best Selling Author, Ellen Hopkins. Their host gave a concise intro for each speaker. Each speaker had 15 minutes which allowed them to share their stories with time for questions from the audience. With the speakers touching on such topics ranging from running in the Himalayas to organic farming to addiction’s impact on families –how could you not want to learn more?
The pacing of the event allowed plenty of time for audience members to chat with the speakers afterwards (and book signing). And for those longing for even more discussion, Grassroots hosted an after party off-site open to all. I drove home after the Microtalk feeling engaged and inspired. Sometimes the less is more approach is what works best.