Pitching a Session

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Just what exactly does it mean to “pitch a session”?

Pitch Ahead of the Summit

As part of getting ready for the Summit we encourage people to pitch sessions (by activating their user account on the LODLAM site) before we all meet in Venice.  These accounts appear under Delegates/Profiles in the main menu of the LODLAM 2017 website.

Close up of Kid Nichols grip [ca. 1901]. Boston Public Library.

Close up of Kid Nichols grip [ca. 1901]. Boston Public Library.

The email address you supplied in your application to come to the Summit will be associated with your user account for the site and you can login and put your pitch into a post now and if you’re a Twitter user, post that out, so others know what you’re thinking about.

Here’s an example:  Adrian Pohl has user name (acka47), his user profile is active, and he has pitched a session proposal already about documenting linked open data.

Pitch At the Summit

At the beginning of both days there’s a marketplace of sessions which we’ll all come up with together, a mix of those we have already put forward before the summit (on the website) and those we create on the spot. On the day, this involves, standing up, and summarising your session and then writing down the session name (and your name) on a post-it note, to put up on the board.  Pitching is just amazing (because people have incredible ideas!) and it happens really quickly.

So it is a good idea to have some key messages for those you want to draw into your session.  What the session is about (the topics and discussion points you want to cover or collaborative action you want to take) and and who might be interested in joining in with you (whether you want to hack or yack, people with passion for your latest LODLAM mission, or expertise in XYZ).

Once we are done with the pitching process, these session proposals will be clustered and sorted by organisers, and then we’ll all vote.  We take this approach so we can figure out which sessions might be of general interest and need a big space, or focused and need a smaller space, to work together in.

This insures that the issues that are most important to us, many of which are evolving as we prepare to travel or get ready to speak, will be addressed in a dynamic, collegial and constructive environment.

The Summit schedule is a framework, which may continue to change a little through the meeting.  The start and end times are the only things that won’t change at this point.  The flexible schedule will be updated on a wall during the meeting so that delegates can always find the sessions of most interest to them (of which there will be no shortage of!!).

Should I have a presentation prepared?

No.  Come with questions, ideas, passion, but not presentations, to do your pitching with.

Dork Shorts/Speedos

The only exception here is that we will have one session period at the end of the day on Wednesday for 2 minute “dork shorts” to borrow a term from THATCamp.org (or “speedos” if you’re an Australian).  These short talks are timed, 2 minute lightning briefs, that everyone will have a chance to get up and have a go.  This session is a great opportunity to tell the group what you’re working on.  Remember, technology doesn’t always work on the day, so have any video/screenshots, etc loaded onto your computer to share, and BYOD (bring your own dongle).

Open Space Technology

We’re utilising Open Space Technology (Wikipedia) as the format to run this summit.  Put simply pitching falls into items 3 and 4:

  1. a broad, open invitation which articulates the purpose of the meeting;
  2. participants’ chairs arranged in a circle;
  3. a “bulletin board” of issues and opportunities posted by participants;
  4. a “marketplace” with many break-out spaces that participants move freely between, learning and contributing as they “shop” for information and ideas;
  5. a “breathing” or “pulsation” pattern of flow, between plenary and small-group breakout sessions.
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