Leading a Great Saturday Session
Jesse Fallick Matthew Mahoney
Sessions Coordinator Outreach Coordinator
‣ Context & goals: how LaidOffCamp works
‣ How sessions work
‣ Being a discussion leader
The main idea
the richest resource at the
conference is the group of
A free two-day event for people in a career
transition who are looking to gain perspective,
discover new passions, or reinvent their careers.
An “open-source” or “user-generated” conference.
Attendees are the organizers + discussion leaders.
The Rules of LaidOffCamp Adopted from Tantek Çelik's
The Rules of BarCamp
1st Rule: You do talk about LaidOffCamp.
2nd Rule: You do blog about LaidOffCamp.
3rd Rule: Anyone with something to contribute or with the
desire to learn is welcome and invited to join.
4th Rule: No pre-scheduled presentations and no tourists -
5th Rule: If you want to present, you must write your topic
and name in a presentation slot.
• 6th Rule: As many presentations at a time as facilities allow
7th Rule: All sponsors, no matter how large their
contribution is, shall be treated equally and afforded the
8th Rule: There will be no screening or vetting of presenters
- anyone can speak!
How scheduling works - am
The session grid is booked ﬁrst-come ﬁrst-served
on-site. Registration opens at 8a.
If you proposed a topic on the wiki in advance,
then simply conﬁrm you still want to lead that talk
After (1) conference registration, (2) check-in with the
Sessions Coordinator (Jesse) who will help with
space assignment, overlapping topics, and
consolidation where necessary
Sessions Coordinator distributes grid around site
Morning Session Leaders give 20 second intro
How scheduling works - afternoon
If you arrive late, or decide in the morning that you’d
like to present, ﬁnd the Sessions Coordinator (Jesse)
and sign up on the Grid if there’s still space available
Sessions Coordinator distributes updated grid
around the site
Afternoon Session Leaders give 20 second intro
The main idea
the richest resource in the
room is the people
attending the discussion.
How sessions work
• Sessions are blocked for an hour
• Discussions can go on until the next session begins
• Many will break at 45 min, it’s up to you & the group
(1) Lead a discussion
(2) No company pitches
(3) Rule of two feet
Tips: In Advance
If there is topic overlap, consider co-leading a
session with others
Distill: what’s the main idea that’s important for
people to take-away?
Develop 3-4 main questions that will provoke
Develop short anecdotes to illustrate the main
points; ideally, think about how to involve the group
Slides are ok, not required, but don’t use too many
(projectors will be in every room; bring an adapter if you need it)
Bullet points are ok, images are better
Keep it simple.
Tips: During the Session
Lead a conversation. More guide than lecturer.
Open the conversation: get people involved early, if
not right away (e.g. ask why they came)
Involve the group: consider where you can break into
pairs or smaller groups, then report out as a big
Share: ask people taking notes to post or twitter
It’s ok if people get up to leave
Provide the framework, but let it happen
Register, if you haven’t already:
Browse proposed topics, post yours:
Pair up to co-lead where it makes sense
Outline the main points, open questions and
conversation starters. Deﬁne success.
Make a blog post about your presentation this week
Invite 3 friends to come
Have fun. You’re gonna do great.