Ellen Seebold | May 11, 2009
A conference’s “customer” is the attendee. The primary goal of a well-run conference is to make attendees feel happy and productive — that they have learned something new and met people who can be valuable in furthering their own agenda. And quality is king – within the attendee group and in the type of conversations they inspire. So much more important than quantity. The primary goal of a trade show, on the other hand, is to secure as many vendors as possible to exhibit. Therefore the tradeshow’s “customer” becomes the exhibitor, not the attendee.
The real key to a great conference is not only superb presenters but plenty of space and time around them for everyone to talk. It’s all about community – a shared concern or mission. To quote Eric Norlin, a blogger for a Tech Entrepreneur conference called GLUE being held in Denver this week:
At the end of the day, it is a tough thing to run a conference well. It takes a lot of care, a lot of work and a nice heaping teaspoon of “luck” (good fortune, whatever). But most all, it takes attendees that care about the topic, and in turn, the conference. Even if that core group is only 15 or 20 people — over time those 15 or 20 people – talking, thinking, building – will help attract the right folks, and real innovation can occur.
I totally agree. (You’ll find the right places to connect with like-minded attendees at ConferenceHound.)
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