Ray K (3/30/2016)
I came up with an abstract. Let me know what you people think.
Groupthink is a phenomenon that is highly destructive -- and all too common in group dynamics. In this presentation, we will talk about the problems associated with groupthink. Some ideas we will discuss include the history behind groupthink research, what makes it destructive, some examples of groupthink, why groupthink is not the same as consensus decision-making, and what you can do to combat groupthink.
Note: use the abstract to pull me into the session, not just let me know it's there
A couple things that can punch this up:
1. You use the word 'groupthink' six times in there without defining it. .
Groupthink, <include a quick definition of the term as it applies to your topic>, is a ...
2. Could I be affected? Would I benefit from attending? Choose frequency terms based on research, and present those numbers in the session if possible:
Groupthink, <include a quick definition of the term as it applies to your topic>, is a
phenomenon frequent|common|occasional pattern of group behavior. Studies have shown at least half|most|XX% teams|departments|organizations waste XX% time and fail to deliver on XX% projects as a direct result.
3. There is maybe one session goal in your abstract. Tell me what I can do with what you present. For a typical one-hour SQLSat presentation, three goals is plenty (one hour is usually way shorter than you think). Goals are action verbs, like 'describe', 'define', and 'solve', compared to passive verbs like 'learn'. These three goals not only clarify the abstract, but should be the specific targets of your completed presentation. This fits well as the last sentence of the abstract, with a phrase like 'Attend this session and you will be able to...'
4. BTW, the best presentations tell a story. Have you used the techniques you will present to combat groupthink in the past? What was the benefit? Weave that story through the presentation. How did you recognize it (and how can I recognize it)? What was the impact? How did you cause change (and how can I cause change)? Start the presentation with an organization in disarray, end it with the results.
5. I personally like to open an abstract with a question the sets the hook:
Have you ever wanted to try something new or different to solve a problem but were stopped by a culture of the status quo? You may be a victim of groupthink!
Here's a sample:
Have you ever wanted to try something new or different to solve a problem but were stopped by a culture of the status quo? You may be a victim of groupthink! Groupthink is a team dynamic that stresses conformity and the status quo over individual ideas and trying new things, and has been shown to affect many development teams. It can be quite destructive, with productivity loss, burnout, and stagnation in the face of a better-performing competitor hurting the bottom line and stalling careers. But there is a better way, and you can lead the charge. Attend this session and you will be able to identify groupthink and its penalties, drive innovation in the face of it, and prove the benefits of your efforts.