As I was proofreading the cover story for the February issue of Association Meetings (the article is about what we need to change about , based on the book We Have Always Done It that Way: 101 things about associations we must change), I was struck anew by this bit:
- The old metric of successâ€”people standing in the aisles and maxed-out session roomsâ€”also needs some rethinking, says [Jeff] De Cagna. â€Thatâ€™s a way of looking at whether something was popular, but not if attendees are learning anything.â€
This is a fundamental issue, I think. While assocations always say their conferences are about education, the way they are designed seem much more focused on the bottom line; i.e., getting more seats in seats, keeping sponsors happy, and making attendees feel good about coming so they'll come back next time and bring a few colleagues. I can't tell you how many press releases I get touting record attendance and record numbers of
It's hard, because associations tend to depend on their meetings for such a large percentage of their revenue. But if association meetings truly were all about education rather than the bottom line, they'd be very different animals than what we typically see. Am I unrealistic for wanting to see these meetings become more educationally focused? What would a truly educational conference look like? And, if you held one, would anyone come?