Archive for the ‘CMR’ Category

It IS all about you

February 8, 2010 4 comments

I had the opportunity to attend PCMA Convening Leaders 2010 in Dallas last month. It was several days of new thinking and inspiration about the changing yet vital role of face to face meetings. While an entire month’s worth of blog posts could spill out of my observations from this event (I reserve the right even 1 month post), for this post I’ll focus in on the group that is playing a more important role in F2F meetings than every before.

The attendee.

Put your attendee hat on for a bit. We’ve all been to a trade show, corporate event or educational conference. In those hours of sessions, breakouts, networking events, boxed lunches & bar-hopping how many times have you thought to yourself:

“They should do ____________!” (Sidebar: every idea should end in an exclamation point. We need to get back to the passion we had when we were younger about ideas.)

  • Did you turn that idea into a suggestion? An e-mail? A tweet? Facebook fan page posting? Smoke signal? Carrier pigeon note? (you should have)
  • Did you blog about it? (you should)
  • Did you reach out to your social network and share your idea? (I hope so)

Now for the real question:

  • Did they listen?
  • Did they respond?
  • Did they sign you up to manage that part of the event next year?

Wait…what was that last part again?

Attendee as Contributor
Imagine, feedback, posted transparently, discussed openly and turned on it’s head to engage the attendee in making the event better by owning a part of the event.

Better yet, how do we turn our events into collaborative platforms and empower our attendees & exhibitors to take our event in completely different ways?

How do we truly turn the event over to the attendee?
I’m not sure the above question alone conveys the thought so I’ll add another thought to it. How do we turn our event into a platform on top of which the attendees can build the conference they want.

Event as a platform. Or to geek it up, “Event as a Service” (EaaS). Attendee as a developer, free to build on the event to explore new and different directions that make the event relevant to them at a given point in time with a given group of people (both in person and virtually). I get excited by the opportunity to use a platform (theme, direction, tool set & community) to create an experience that will offer exactly what I need, when I need it surrounded by the people who can help me understand and digest it.

And if I’m not getting that…I need only speak up and join in.

Can Events Do This?
I’d answer this with a quote from General Eric Shinseki (Ret. US Army)

If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.

Events are already doing this. Why? Because people are already doing this. Let’s not forget that the revolution that is causing this upheaval of top down everything is driven by people groping for new and different ways to connect and share.

Hmmmm…isn’t that a working definition of an event?

What’s so scary about this? (TRANSPARENT MOMENT: I really don’t understand)
I’ve asked that question a lot and the answers I get really come back to the concern for loss of control and inhearant change in this model. Yes it’s scary, but isn’t it more frightening to think about your attendees and exhibitor finding your event is no longer relevant simply because you refused to turn it over to them?

If we commit to combine the thought of looking from the outside in (customer vantage point) and support that view with a platform that encourages (can I say demands) social interactions on several levels, we’ve just created events that do more than inform or educate. We’ve created an infectious community.

See you on the platform.