I’ve been dreadfully delinquent and I know it. I haven’t stopped caring–I’ve just been deciding how to refocus given my new position. What I’ve decided, generally, is that my posts will focus more and more on continuing legal education, rather than on events in general. After all, it’s what I do. And our industry is changing–for the better, for the most part. So there is a lot to talk about.
Which brings me to today. I’m at the ACLEA conference in Salt Lake City with other CLE providers from around the state. Today is day one for me, though the conference officially started Saturday (I had the small matter of an insanely fun wedding in Chicago this weekend). I’m looking forward to learning, sharing and getting to know people from around the country who are doing what I do everyday.
Be sure to stop by Cece’s PR blog to take a look at a guest post I wrote about a conference I was running that veered off track. I actually wrote it while still at my last job, but the power of “sorry” transcends time.
Here’s an excerpt:
I’m in Sacramento because I organize and run legal conferences
around the country–about 24 each year. Usually, things go seamlessly
(or almost seamlessly–it’s hard to imagine a completely error-free event). Occasionally, things don’t. Today was one of those days.
Each mistake, on its own, is relatively innocuous. The conference
room is moved and is difficult to find. But people find it and life
We notice the printer left a section out of the materials. Okay. We can get Kinkos to deliver the missing section within hours.
But then the computer dies mid-presentation, forcing a speaker to
finish without PowerPoint. Now people are starting to think, “What is
going on here?”
This weekend we had a guest stay over Friday night. On Saturday morning, I asked if anyone would like some steel-cut oatmeal. I said we had blackberries, walnuts, brown sugar and bananas as toppings, but I still had no takers. I made oatmeal anyway because I wanted some. When it was time for us all to sit down for breakfast (they opted for omelettes), I set the toppings out as shown in the photo.
After seeing the toppings set out in this way, the others changed their minds. They did want oatmeal, after all. Enough so that they ate it in addition to their omelettes.
The toppings didn’t change. The blackberries were as ripe as they had been when I first proposed them, but it took seeing them in a different way to close the deal.
I read a lot about the importance of quality content in events, but I’m starting to think it’s a waste of time. I don’t mean that content isn’t important, of course. I mean that we all know it’s important, so why waste time reading about how important it is? Are there really event planners out there who think they can sling bad content? And if there are, is a blog post about quality really going to change their minds?
Bad content isn’t hard to identify. It’s the squeaky wheel of events. If the content at a conference doesn’t live up to the hopes of the audience, people will tell you. But nobody will tell you that the reason they didn’t go to your conference (no matter how great the content) was that you packaged it wrong. Or that the copy turned them off. Or that their budgets were slashed this year. Or that they never even heard about it.
If my blackberries had been rotten, I would have heard about it. But nobody knew to even tell me that the oatmeal might sound better to them if I laid the toppings out in simple, white ramekins. Luckily, I also spend a lot of time reading about design because that’s an area where I need all the help I can get.