The Forth bridge is often quoted as an example of when as soon as the repainting job is actually complete then lo and behold you have to start it all from the beginning. It is not unlike trying to organise a conference as once you start it off it becomes self absorbing with a lot of stress, hassle and challenge as part of the journey.
But once you get to the point where the last person at the end of the last day has left the building and the whole day has worked as you hoped with everyone turning up to speak at the right time and saying the right things then with accolades hopefully ringing in your ear then you know all that hassle and stress was worth it. So it is that I have now set about the formal process of organising the venue, attracting the calibration of speakers and trying to find a sponsor.
All challenges to be overcome and the reality is that you have to be organised and thorough and just keep going until you get what you need when you need it and to keep checking. I have been to some great conferences and some truly dire conferences. The good one’s are always in good venues, well attended and attract good speakers and excellent audience participation. I was at a conference last week that was very good, well organised and had a good audience mix and some great speakers from around the world.
But and this is the point the successes do not happen by accident, they require ownership and effort, without that they face the possibility of being a disaster. I have been to some conferences where speakers failed to show, the venue was a shambles, no parking, no information as to where to go.Poor joining instructions, bad or even worse no catering or drinks facilities, rude and unhelpful staff. And even worse some awful people giving presentations very badly.
And I hear you ask how do you define bad public speakers, well here is a whole Pandora’s box of bad practise to chose from. One of the worst that I ever heard was from a man who quite simply was full of his own self importance. He spoke in glowing terms about how successful and clever he was which soon became apparent that actually he was neither. It was a litany of how good he was and how bad other players, products and people were. He claimed that his business was market leading and all he did was trade off what other better Companies had done and then tried to claim that he had done what they had delivered.
Even worse when asked questions from members of the audience he got quite aggressive and even more arrogant and unpleasant. To be fair he made a real impression on everybody who was there for all the wrong reasons, It is hard to imagine that someone has performed so badly given you would think that ones own sense of personal pride would want to make you avoid looking like a fool. This man was the epitome of what not to do, and how not to do it.
However,he still continues to turn up pedeeling his Mickey Mouse solutions, that no one will buy, indeed he is the sort of person who would go the opening of a pair of curtains, if he thought that some poor sucker was in attendance So he could talked down to them in the vain hope that they would buy something from him, which they never do.
So, as you can see it is important to ensure that you know your audience and you know your speaker. Good preparation is the key as in life, there is a saying that is a tad Anglo Saxon, in that as the saying goes ‘Pee poor preparation, leads to pea poor performance” And that holds very true today as it did since time immemorial.