So what’s in it for me to attend a meeting? Asks Bryan Holliday.

By Bryan Holliday

While watching a webinar titled Membership is Dead I was amazed at the similarities between professional associations endeavouring to attract and retain members and conference organisers marketing their events to potential delegates. As with many aspects of contemporary life everyone is tuning into the same radio station WII FM – what’s in it for me.

If information can be obtained instantly via search engines, then intermediaries have to become “content curators”, where their role is to collect, collate and disseminate relevant information to different people. Successful conferences have business programs that appeal to a wide variety of potential delegates. My favourite division is minders, finders and grinders. The minders are senior people who crave for strategic guidance in their chosen industry or profession; Finders are sales focussed and usually younger who want to know how quickly and efficiently they can influence and then convert potential customers; and grinders are operational people who have the responsibility to ensure that all promises are delivered.

The second similarity is in trying to create communities. In what can be an impersonal world, people with common interests are often attracted to an event in the hope of meeting other people with the same interests as themselves. This process can be accelerated by devising ways in which registered delegates can agree to publicise their contact details and interests to other registered delegates. In this way communities form prior to the event, the event cements these relationships, and interaction can continue after the event for mutual benefit.

Young people want to be part of a dynamic community while older people are generally more interested in the almost intangible benefits of attending a conference.
Like a smorgasbord, all tastes can be catered for with event. m