How to Have Meaningful Discussions at an Ecological Society Conference

It is easy for an ecological society conference to degenerate into a talking shop. Even worse, it is actually possible for an ecological society conference to degenerate into a shouting match. But (conversely) it is also possible for meaningful discussions to take place within the context of an ecological society conference. It is actually possible for resolutions that have impact on government policy to be made in the course of an ecological society conference. When all is said and done, the outcome from an ecological society conference depends on how the conference is organized and run. In that regard, there are certain things you can do, to increase the probability of meaningful discussions taking place at an ecological society conference:

  1. Use good session moderators: the moderators used to control debate at the ecological society conference should be people who really know how to run debates. They should also be people who are knowledgeable about the issues that are being discussed. Only then would they be in a position to steer the discussions in the right directions.
  2. Use good plenary speakers: the people who give the main speeches at the plenary level should be folks who are well respected authorities in the field of ecology. They should be the sorts of people who are truly worth listening to. And they should be given clear briefs on the topics they are to speak about.
  3. Discourage interjections: ideally, you should encourage people to take note of the issues they wish to raise (while a speaker is on the floor), and then only raise those issues once the speaker completes his address. If you have constant interjections, you will end up wasting a lot of time, and no meaningful discussion will take place.
  4. Place time limits on speakers: speakers are likely to be more concise — and to organize their thoughts better — if they know that there are time limits to adhere to. We encounter time limits in all sorts of places. Even online, you are likely to encounter time limits: like, for instance, while using the Mygiftcardsite portal. That, at least, is what the mygiftcardsiteguide seems to tell us. It is where, for instance, you could encounter a time-out message at the check mygiftcardsite balance login page, if you delay for too long. Surely, it also makes sense to place time limits on ecological society conference speakers – if you want them to be concise, and if you want them to organize their thoughts better.
  5. Encourage the attendees to take notes: the speakers are likely to give more meaningful speeches if they know that the listeners are taking notes.
  6. Encourage the attendees to raise questions: in the course of answering the questions, the speakers are likely to end up addressing issues that they missed out in the course of their main speeches. In other words, questions (especially when they are asked by well informed individuals) are likely to raise the discussion to the next level.
  7. Involve the media: the speakers are likely to give much more meaningful speeches if they know that the media is present. With the media present, they certainly won’t risk their reputations by giving mediocre speeches.

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