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Talk is cheap as the saying goes, but is that still the received wisdom with conferences and exhibitions?
In my 20’s a work mate helped me make the leap from seeing exhibitions and conferences as more than just a day out of the office and a free buffet lunch, in a hotel chain, somewhere off the A1(M). Her secret was to make it one of her main tasks, to learn a minimum of three takeaways, to take back and impress all our colleagues with. She always did too.
Since then I have learned so much and shamefully lost touch.
Since then I have participated in no end of panels, presentations and double-acts, to try to share my knowledge. Occasionally events have covered my train fare or put me up in the venue the night before. All good stuff and I am always genuinely grateful. Often I do ruck up for the fun of it and manage to exchange three takeaways, back and forwards.
Recently I noticed someone I follow on Twitter, an expert on certain types of tenant engagement, talking about being tapped up to present, but being then asked for a fee of several thousand pounds. Clearly she refused the ‘opportunity’, which was more of a profit making one, for the organisers.
I have experienced the same, where the pitch is that ‘several hundred CEO’s will be attending, all eager to hear my experiences of transformation, or other areas. The rub is that I would need to buy an exhibition stand package, for the privilege, £15k or £10k reduced, if I bite early.
While this may make conferences profitable for their organisers, I am sure that this approach can only lead to short term gains. There is generally very little to learn from suppliers, who can afford to splash £15k on a stand and tell you how good they are. Everything is pretty brilliant in sales and demo land.
Conferences are missing a trick, not getting more varied experts in to speak, share real and sometimes raw experiences and insight. That’s where the majority of my takeaways have been always gleaned. Those conferences that are open to that, are the ones that are flourishing. See you at Housing Technology, March 2019, let me know if you will be there 😉
Related Post: Webchat, essential for your service centre, or just a total waste of time and money?
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(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009
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