Thinking of pitching an idea at Make:Shift? Here are our tips to make sure your session goes really well

If you’re thinking of running a session at Make:Shift, here are some tips on making sure your session goes really well. Unconferences are very different to conventional conferences, so it’s worth spending some time thinking how you’ll present your session idea.

We’re going to ask people to ‘pitch’ their idea to all the other participants. Why not prepare a 60 second pitch that conveys the essence of your idea in an engaging way?

If you do this, hopefully your idea will be chosen and you’ll then be running a session with people who are interested in your idea. Don’t worry, we’ll provide a facilitator to keep a note of the key points and help you to keep the conversation going. 

Here are some guidelines that we’d suggest for running a session.


  • Create a topic and an angle. It’s very different to pitch a topic about ‘use of derelict land’ compared to ‘the scandal of dereliction in our city – how we can turn things around’. Straight away this makes people have an opinion either for or against your argument. It encourages people to think before your session and will encourage a lively discussion
  • Don’t be scared to choose a tough topic. The only censure at an unconference is you. If you choose a topic that you wish was discussed, but never is, the chances are that you’ll have hit on a really popular theme
  • Make sure your session is interactive. Ask questions, make it easy for people to take part, make notes of the main points people make, or ask someone to do this for you
  • Be a good host. Running a good session at an unconference is like running a successful party. Introduce people and be friendly. Set the tone for the session. If you’re nervous and withdrawn this will have an impact on the people in your group. If you’re not naturally outgoing, why not consider working with someone else to run the session?
  • Relax and have fun. The session will run much easier if you do. Remember that you’ll set the tone for the session. If you’re relaxed and enjoying it, the chances are that everyone else will too.
  • Take advantage of this unique opportunity. When else will you get the chance to have this many people in a room to discuss something close to your heart? Use the special blend of people in the room to help to develop the idea
  • Continue the conversation after Make:Shift. The session could form the basis of a group to take forward your idea with you. Stay in touch after the event – collect peoples’ email addresses; set up a Yahoo group; or arrange to meet after the event.

Not got your ticket yet? Tickets are going on general release to the public this week so don’t miss your chance to get yours before the rush starts. Don’t forget to tell your friends and family too.

Book your ticket by going to:



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