On the 17th September I am speaking at the EVCOM Annual Conference and for once it’s an industry event that I am really looking forward to. EVCOM is a fairly new incarnation of two UK event associations and I get the feeling that it is still trying to find its place in the industry so it will be a really interesting environment to experience. I am hoping for innovation and excitement!
Less is more
Less is more is one of my event mantras and this year I decided to live by if for speaking slots. EVCOM is only my second outing in 2014 a considerable drop off in speaking slots from previous years. At the start of the year I decided that I wouldn’t take my place in the line up of usual suspects at our big industry trade shows. I decided that it was no longer worth it: putting in considerable time and effort into a session only to appear on a noisy show floor.
I also declined a couple of non paying slots at conferences and one invite deserves special mention. The request to speak for an association event was accompanied by a note that said “you will be expected to cover your own travel expenses”. Now there’s respect for speakers and content eh?
Making Good Planners Great
Two appearances on panels at CONFEX aside I’ve been pretty low profile this year so I am really excited about talking about my favourite of subjects: how to make good planners great.
In an environment as fast paced as the world of live communications we need to constantly change our focus and update our skill set. My annual list of New Skills needed by event planners tries to point out what we need to do to stay at the top of our game.
We can be great organisers one year and only good ones the next. If we drop our guard something completely new slips in under the radar and destabilises us. One year the phrase “hybrid” is just some type of car the next year it is half of the events we are supposed to be planning! Social media is a fad one month and then your entire comms channel the next. What a challenge to continue to be great at what you do!
So it’s with this backdrop that I start to plan my 45min session
How can I deliver a great session and not just a good one? How do I raise the issues, focus the attendees and concentrate on adding value? What’s the plan for brining a very disparate audience together? What approach to take to get them enthused, engaged and motivated to do something with the take aways? The decision on the slides, format, structure and style all have to be considered.
For a session like this I will probably spend a couple of days in preparation and of course the one day delivering. So three days in total. My hope is that I can structure a session that allows me, maybe in just a small way, to push our industry along. To have us all thinking strategically about the role of the planner and how they engage and value their stakeholders. How do I get planners to focus on the “less is more” mantra to help them be great and not just good?
Big up the event industry conference
It’s great to have a conference environment to approach this challenge. Speaking on one of maybe a hundred sessions on an unstructured, unfocussed stream of content on an exhibition floor isn’t part of that less is more mantra. Rewarding a speakers time and effort with a request that they cover their own expenses isn’t a reflection of that view either. Let’s be great and not good.
We make good planners great by treating our audience’s time as the most valuable of resources. By ensuring that the speakers and the content we put in front of them is of the highest quality possible. That’s the future of our industry. Leave the past behind along with invites to pay your own travel expenses.
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