I've been to my share of conferences, and you probably have too. In an information age, it's easy to find free content via audio and video podcasts, webinars, blogs, and email newsletters. In a time where travel costs keep escalating (both air travel and gas prices) wouldn't that make people think twice about attending a conference, whether the venue is within driving distance or requires air travel?
Seth Godin notices this trend and suggests that meeting planners and conference organizers have got to do better:
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... 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.
... 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.
Jeff Shinabarger responds to Seth Godin's remarks, and shared 4 ingredients for a good event: Collaboration. Network. Content Creation. Global Village or Local Neighborhood. Jeff is no stranger to producing high-quality conferences, having been intricately involved with Catalyst and the Q boutique event. Read Jeff's post to see what he means.
Or, maybe the conference-going experience has just become a mixed bag. Ginger MacDonald in her post, Who really gets the main stage at Christian Conferences? confesses her love & hate for conferences. I hope I haven't stepped over the line in breaching this subject-- I'm sure if I did, I'll be reined in quickly enough.
On the home front, Leadership Network is hosting 2 Multi-Site Exposed conferences this September, about multi-site churches -- one in Chicago, one in South Carolina. What would you like to learn about multi-site churches that you've yet to read or hear?
More generically speaking, what do you look for in selecting a conference to attend? What would make it that much more valuable for you, taking it up to the next level, instead of travelling many miles to wind up hearing recycled material?
-- DJ Chuang, Leadership Community Director @ Leadership Network
[photo credit: Colleen Scheck/Speaking of Faith]