13 May 2010

Conversation piece

If you walked into a room with that table, you’d have something to talk about, wouldn’t you? It would be almost impossible not to ask what the heck it was doing in that living room, where it was bought, and for goodness’s sake, why?

It is a remarkable object, in the sense that Seth Godin uses the term (emphasis added):

As I travel around spreading the word of the Purple Cow, a lot of people appear confused about just what “remarkable” means. It’s not elitist. It’s not weird. It’s not cheap or expensive or big or small. It’s any or all of these things... it’s just something worth talking about.

A conference poster should be a remarkable object. The job of a poster is to start conversations.

To put it another way, a poster is a social object. People are often more comfortable talking about some third object than they are either talking about themselves, or their conversational partner. After all, talking about yourself, or the person you’re talking to, is not an easy thing to do: it requires some trust.

What starts conversations? Above all else, you need something recognizable if you want to start a conversation. If there is nothing a novice can comprehend at a glance, you’re not going to have conversations.

But you have an even better chance of starting conversations if that entry point is remarkable. That remarkable thing can be an amazing fact. It can be a tantalizing question. Or, like the table above, it just might be unusual, edgy, or unexpected.

Related links

Entry points: Five ways to make your poster more inviting

Seth’s Blog: How to be remarkable

Nina Simon’s Museum 2.0 blog: Exhibits and artefacts as social objects.

Furniture from here. Ad from here.

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