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I would say that 'bigness' resides in all of us. Conferences should give everyman and everywoman a chance to present authoritatively.

So good, I broke out the notebook and took notes analog-style. :)

I've been thinking about organizing a conference-type event in 2011, so this is very timely food for thought (as usual). Small groups and "expert" facilitators, getting together face to face to raise the bar together. Mutual empowerment.

Rather than convince people they're part of the herd, I'd like to try instilling a desire to *lead* the herd. Like Mark said, it only takes a few...

Really thoughtful writeup, Valeria. Several of your points raise one of my biggest beefs with conferences — they don't do enough to harness the collective wisdom of the crowds.

There's always this vibe that all the brains are on stage and the rest are just lucky to be there and bask in their brilliance. When in fact, the collective wisdom and experience in the audience usually dwarfs even the most overloaded panels.

But how can event planners make the most of that? It's going to take a lot of creativity and experimentation to figure that out, but the event planners who make the effort are going to discover something pretty incredible.

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