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Exactly what is it that everyone is waiting for?

Posted on December 11, 2006

By Jeffery Cufaude

Apparently not everyone got the memo.  That's the only plausible reason I can think of why so many meetings and conferences are still the same mind-numbing gatherings that have been turning us into drones and zombies for years.

In case you didn't get the memo here is some of what it said:

--We've shifted from being in the "meeting planning' business to being in the "connecting business," connecting individuals to the people, ideas, information, and resources they need to achieve their goals and aspirations.  As a result, getting the banquet guarantee exactly correct will no longer earn you a raise.

--People actually come to events with ideas, interests, and passions.  Therefore, we shall not suck the life out of them by starting our gathering with an endless number of talking heads.  Anyone doing so will have their resume forwarded to Macy's Thanksgiving Parade department where swelled heads are indeed important to display.

--Packing people into a ballroom and providing alcohol and cheese cubes is not a "networking event."  We will intentionally help participants connect to the individuals who have knowledge and connections they most seek.

--The most brilliant presenters of information are frequently among the least capable facilitators of learning.  To ensure participants have powerful learning experiences, we select, coach, and support all presenters (even the big names with the big fees) to create engaging sessions that balance their knowledge with the wisdom of the crowd and help attendees connect the content to their everyday efforts.

These four points are just the beginning of the conversations we should be having.  Actually, enough talk, let's focus on action.  We already know better.  It is long past time for us to start doing better.  The clock is ticking and people's patience is waning.  Let's not make them wait any longer.


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Joan Eisenstodt

If I didn't already love and admire you, I would now! This is what some of us have talked about for years .. the 'connecting business' w/o calling it that. You are a phrase-coiner and do better. I hope you address this week, while you are 'guruing' for all, the role of facilities and how they simply don't like us doing things that are different from the usual meetings they've always done and most orgs. have too. THANKS Jeffrey!

Sandy Biback

Well, Jeffrey, I've loved reading your articles for quite some time now. I think your comments here make very important points. And yet...it is the same old, same old. So, how do we shake up the world of meetings? When I see clients who want to make changes, I make the suggestions & then it's "we can't do that" fill in the blank. Someone needs to take a risk. I suggest take one risk & evaluate it, if it works, try something else. If it diesn't, well, you tried & what can you learn?
I think its a lot about CYA in our business & every business. I'd love to do a whole conference based entirely on new, innovative, risktaking ideas with people who are open to the concept & then pulling it apart & seeing where we go from there. We could revolutionize the industry--and it will take time. Things are happening slowling, in small pockets. My hope is that eventually, the pockets will rub up against each other & then puff, an explosion called change!

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