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« Great post on the wienie | Main | Proximity to pain »

The new standard for meetings and conferences

If oil is $130 a barrel and if security adds two or three hours to a trip and if people are doing more and more business with those far afield...

and if we need to bring together more people from more places when we get together...

and if the alternatives, like video conferencing or threaded online conversations continue to get better and better, then...

I think the standard for a great meeting or a terrific conference has changed.

In other words, "I flew all the way here for this?" is going to be far more common than it used to be.

If you think a great conference is one where the presenters read a script while showing the audience bullet points, you're wrong. Or if you leave little time for attendees to engage with others, or worse, if you don't provide the levers to make it more likely that others will engage with each other, you're wrong as well.

Here's what someone expects if they come to see you on an in-person sales call: that you'll be prepared, focused, enthusiastic and willing to engage honestly about the next steps. If you can't do that, don't have the meeting.

Here's what a speaker owes an audience that travels to engage in person: more than they could get by just reading the transcript.

And here's what a conference organizer owes the attendees: surprise, juxtaposition, drama, engagement, souvenirs and just possibly, excitement.

I'm on a roll here, so let me add one more new standard:

If you're a knowledge worker, your boss shouldn't make you come to the (expensive) office every day unless there's something there that makes it worth your trip. She needs to provide you with resources or interactions or energy you can't find at home or at Starbucks. And if she does invite you in, don't bother showing up if you're just going to sit quietly.

I've worked in three companies that had lots of people and lots of cubes, and I spent the entire day walking around. I figured that was my job. The days where I sat down and did what looked like work were my least effective days. It's hard for me to see why you'd bother having someone come all the way to an office just to sit in a cube and type.

The new rule seems to be that if you're going to spend the time and the money to see someone face to face, be in their face. Interact or stay home!

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The new standard for meetings and conferences:

» Today's Face-to-Face Conferences Demand More of Us--as Planners and as Attendees from next generation event
This morning, Seth Godin set the new standard for meetings and conferences and it is a great supplement to my recent post on the airline industry and the need to rethink tomorrow's events. In a world with increasing oil prices [Read More]

» Seth's Blog: The new standard for meetings and conferences from Ending Extreme Poverty in the Congo
I hope that audio and video teleconferencing along with threaded online conversation will eliminate the need for more face-to-face meetings and conferences. Some organizations, industries, or niches are more likely to embraced the new standard especial... [Read More]

» Why Meet? from Epic Living - Leadership Development Career Management Training Executive Life Coaching Author
Seth Godin posts on The new standard of meetings and conferences. The piece provides practical approaches to making meetings/conferences work. But I'm most intrigued by the implication of how organizations accept the status que. The practice of pretend... [Read More]

» Saving Face from Meetings 2.0
Lots of good blog talk on how as travel costs headaches become more unbearable, and online discussion tools get better and more ubiquitous, meetings need to get better in order to clear the bar. For example, Seth Godin says there [Read More]

» How to Cure Death by PowerPoint from Future Now's GrokDotCom / Marketing Optimization Blog
The other day, Seth Godin wrote about the new standard for meetings and conferences. Hes absolutely right. Asking people to travel to see a presentation can be dangerous, and the last thing anyone wants to overhear is, I flew all the way ... [Read More]

» Enterprise Collaboration and Virtual Teams Report (May 22, 2008) from Effective Collaboration
The People Part of Enterprise Collaboration and Virtual Teams Enterprises are embracing Web 2.0 tools within the firewall for better staff communication and collaboration. "When respondents were asked which groups Web 2.0 technologies were designed to ... [Read More]

» Can Fuel Prices Force Better Meetings? from The Challenge Dividend
In the past few weeks I've been traveling a ton. We're building a closer business partnership with another agency and I've found that literally being there is critically important to growing a trusting relationship. Dialing into a conference call just [Read More]

» Career Questions to Think About This Summer from The Monster Blog
As we head into the steamy summer months, we're getting ready to tackle the hot topics on job searching, life at work and career development here on the Monster Blog. Here are a few questions we're thinking about for upcoming [Read More]

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