I’m Sorry, your name is not on the list.

I love speaking at Events. It’s a passion I have to be on stage and both learn from the audience as well as share knowledge learned over the years. This situation just happened again to me recently, and in fact I’m myself guilty of this in the past at my own events.

Here is the setup…. I arrive a day early to prepare for my talk and I approach registration to pick up my name badge. I’m the first speaker to arrive which is normal. I’m also two hours early for my flight. It’s part of my low stress life-style. Anyway, back to the reg desk. The conversation is something like this …

Staff: Your name please?
Me: Scott Cate
Staff: Hmm, I don’t see you here.
Me: Try “C” or “K” sometimes my last name is spelled wrong?
Staff: No, not on the list, did you register?
Me: I’m a Speaker for tomorrow.
Staff: (Puzzled Look) …. We don’t have …..

And you get the point of this post.

Long story short … if your event is using Name Badges and Security Credentials, don’t forget to register your speakers.

P.S. #EventProfs ProTip : Check with your presenters ahead of time if they plan on bringing a guest or spouse. It’s a nice VIP touch to have these credentials ready as well. If guests/spouse isn’t allowed, you should communicate that well in advance to avoid a potentially uncomfortable situation.

Public Conference, Private Content?

Rustic Railroad Tracks

Rustic Railroad Tracks BlogPic from WinePress of Words.

Many public and a few private organizations would do well to be transparent in their business dealings. Whether it’s sharing public data, exposing the steps used in building lasting relationships, or simply allowing their source code (or company secret sauce) to be tinkered with and improved, transparency can do wonders.

But Adrian Segar of Conferences That Work thinks that this may not be a good thing. Our oversharing, always on, and broadcast everything approach using digital tools has certainly increased exposure for conference presenters, but has it decreased value?

A recent edAccess conference seems to think that DECREASING information shared with the masses is a better tactic than the opposite. With numerous privacy concerns — students they serve and their co-workers, faculty, and assorted staff — it’s a wonder that more conferences haven’t gone this route.

While we’re not condemning social media and sharing/collaborative cultures, there are plenty of topics that just aren’t suited for a wide audience, as no amount of digital security will ease the worries of presenters that show up to discuss sensitive topics.

Best to not record at all, right? What better security could there be if there’s no one live tweeting, live streaming, or furiously taking notes to share with the world?

But for conference organizers, this greatly diminishes the resale value of content produced at these kind of events. No longer can they make any of their money back selling recorded conference sessions, which could lead to higher attendee prices and increased sponsorship needs.

From an attendee’s perspective, this approach seems perfectly in line with the goals of academic-oriented conferences, but without enough assets to sponsor or advertise with, potential sponsors may shy away from the higher prices.

If you’re an attendee, would this matter to you? Would you pay more knowing the experience you’d get would be unavailable anywhere else at any time?

Is exclusivity back in vogue for pragmatic reasons?

Gen Y And The Future Of Collaborative Conferences

_MG_0335

While digital hasn’t yet killed analog, there’s no question the rise of intangible goods/services with reproduction cost near zero has allowed event organizers to broaden both their information offerings and the geographic accessibility of conferences.

Just like ebooks, nearly every calendar program and too much software (dubbed skeuomorph — Apple is horribly guilty of this), much of what we’re already doing online is a digital copy of an analog process.

Think…

iPads as demo tools
Digital signage
Webinars
Live streaming
Twitter hashtags
Google Hangouts

All of the previous are good things, but they aren’t quite the leap forward many of us have been expecting. While we’re proud of our technology that combines smartphone apps with printed QR codes, we know that this is only a start in making conferences better, more productive and perhaps most importantly, cheaper/more cost effective.

To The Rescue?
That’s where Gen Y, the sharing economy and collaborative consumption come in. This generation has grown up with handheld technology, sees the collaborative consumption patterns as not only part of the recent recession but as an integral part of their formative years and generally understands that stuff matters far less than experiences.

Is it really digital VERSUS analog?
Some might think that Gen Y will eventually kill the conference, as they would rather use Facebook and other digital means to stay in touch, but we disagree. What Gen Y will do is turn away from the usually excessive waste of typical conferences in favor of smaller, more people focused events that focus on interaction and experiences, rather than information and advertising.

If you’re an event organizer that’s fighting this, if you think your pay/commission is going to take a hit because of ever-lowering profit margins and if your analog waste doesn’t back down from obscene levels, we think you won’t be around very much longer.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t still time to evolve.

Let’s do this together.