May 15, 2008

Rehashing old content at the same venue?

I spoke at a conference last week, where the keynote speaker rehashed several significant and memorable stories that she had used the year before at the same conference, but in a breakout session.

The conference attracts many of the same people year after year, as it's local and sponsored by an organization on the campus of UCSB. It actually annoyed me that I had heard most of her talk before, and at the same event.

I'm wondering if this is a faux pas, or if it's okay for speakers to recycle the same content for pretty much the same audience, especially if one presentation is a breakout and one is a keynote. . .

When I speak to the same or similar audience more than once, I don't use the same content. What do you think?

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4 comments. Please add yours! :

Anonymous said...

I think it is a faux pas.

I find it frustrating when I see speakers at the same conference, next year with old, reused material. The people in the audience are investing their valuable time to list to that speaker. They deserve fresh, professional, and relevant content from the speaker.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Russ.
I've been to conferences where it is the same material (almost word for word). Been there, done that.

Unknown said...

But think about why it shouldnt be done. Most people go to the same conference over and over. We usually go back to what we love. So a speaker should know if they are back to back speaker at a conference, the same people are hanging out.

I think the only reason a speaker can repeat some of the material is to provide a stepping off point. After that, it should be new. If a speaker can't or won't bring something new and additional, that speaker probably has nothing new to say.

So I agree. It is frustrating. On the other hand, if you remember everything they said, somehow you at least are learning by repetition. Tedious, mundane, mind numbing repetition.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thanks for your comments, as always, peeps. I also think there's another difference, the difference between a presentation and a speech.

In a presentation, the same basic material might be covered, but with each audience it's slightly different, spontaneous even, based on your crowd (ideally) and how you want to convey the information.

A speech is given word for word, so it's particularly obvious when the same content has been delivered before, because there's no flexibility in the words themselves.

Maybe if some of the material had been the same, but delivered in a different way, I might not have found it so distracting.

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