October - December 2008 lime 43 PLANNING ESSENTIALS 01 Be disciplined in estimating the length of your conference, and the length of your sessions. 02 Allocate brief time slots to each speaker and enforce them ruthlessly ( pulling the microphone works well). 03 Edit all papers and presentations to eradicate ' information lint'. 04 Encourage your speakers to avoid the unnecessary ' dumping' of information. 05 Advise your attendees to learn how to filter information ( to avoid subjecting themselves to an unnecessary ' information assault'). 06 Limit the amount of written information, especially if it duplicates verbal information. 07 Limit unnecessary Audio- Visual presentations – especially if they duplicate verbal delivery. 08 Ban lengthy, supposedly ' erudite' questions during the Q and A session: they are a manifestation of ' information vanity'. 09 Insist ( pleasantly) on punctuality: information that must be repeated for latecomers represents a double assault for those who were on time. 10 Allow long breaks; and promote ' after- conference' leisure time. 11 Ban the use of cell phones within conference sessions (& fine offenders). 12 Ensure conference rooms are well- ventilated – stuffiness inhibits concentration. 13 Try to ensure that conference venues offer health club facilities – exercise facilitates information absorption. 14 Encourage laughter – a powerful tool in the digestion of information. 30% of the UK workforce report mental health problems. The number of prescriptions for anti- depressants in the USA rose from 131 million in 1988, to 233 million in 1998. Further reading: ' Tyranny of the Moment: Fast and Slow Time in the Information Age' by Thomas Hylland Eriksen ( Pluto Press ISBN 0 7453 1774 X) value of conferences; which is that they offer a pretext for enjoying ' slow time' with colleagues. He also suggests that ' as everybody knows, the most important parts of conferences are the conversations that take place during coffee breaks and in the evenings' and that clever conference planning should take cognizance of this fact. So, if you're planning a conference in the near future, maybe it's time you protected your delegates against the ' Tyranny of Time'. Jane Barsby is an international conference organiser with experience in Europe, America, Africa, China and the Middle East.
travel 44 lime October - December 2008 AND NOT A BEACH IN SIGHT! Across the globe, the Caribbean is renowned for its idyllic beaches. Each island benefits from this blessed natural asset, with tourism such an important contributor to the region's economy. But we know there's so much more to our home than surf and sand… here James Henderson recommends his must- see favourite places that show the depth of our natural assets. How many have you visited? ll Caribbean 36 great things to d o in the