Events must be led by content

I attended an educational event the other day as a fully paid-up delegate, which is a bit of an indulgence for the self-employed. Needless to say, I noted the efficient registration staff, the quality of the sound and the seamless delivery of the F&B. Absolutely top marks, then, to the operations team and venue.

Nevertheless, the conference was a huge disappointment and a waste of my money. The speakers, experts in their individual fields, hadn't pitched their content to the audience. Some of the information was duplicated and skewed, so that one speaker's view cast doubt on the validity of what his predecessor had said. And to cap it all, each one droned on for an hour, with no time for questions. The mood ranged from bored to mutinous and, quelle surprise, a noticeable number of delegates failed to return from tea.

I didn't learn a huge amount, other than the fact that no matter how well executed an event, if it doesn't engage fully with the audience, it has failed them and been a waste of their time.

The objectives of the organisers were to make money and they succeeded. A satisfactory ROI achieved and they presumably won't care that it didn't delight the punters. But positively affecting delegates attitudes and behaviours is - or should be - the prime objective.

Given the current quest for accurate measurement, we have a vested interest in ensuring the quality of content. Dreary conferences will not generate sales uplift.

Not every organiser has much control of presentations, but as an industry, can we at least wave the flag for inspirational event content?

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