Conferences and Events – the why’s and wherefore’s

August 2016

Why are we so reluctant to ask the question … why?

Those of us whose default behaviour is to question everything are often considered annoying or negative but maybe it’s time that all of us passionate about doing a good job started to ask the question… ‘why?’.

Why are we holding the event?

Why are we holding it on this date?

Why would anyone want to come?

Why are we holding it there?

Why do we use this seating configuration?

Why do we design the program and agenda like that?

Why will the delegates value what we’re planning to deliver?

Why don’t we engage them more in the process?

Why are we delivering the same content regardless of levels of experience or age profile.

Why do we think the only way to demonstrate innovation is to add an ‘app’ somewhere?

Over the last 25+ years whenever I’ve proposed the question, ‘why are you holding this event?’ the answer, invariably, has been ‘because we always hold it at this time of year’.  AARRGGHH!

If this is the best answer available my suggestion would be to save your time and money.

There are very many really good reasons why a conference is the answer to a problem or opportunity but ‘because we always do’ is not one of them.

A good starting point would be to list all the assumptions that currently exist about your event and then for each one ask the question, ‘why?’.

If the event team works through this process with open-minded honesty the chances are you’ll be in for some very interesting ‘ah-ha’ moments and will end up creating something of genuine value to the host organization, sponsors and, of course, participants.