08 Jul No Conferring!
I recently attended a Risk Management Forum organised by RSSB (no relation). The variety of speakers and topics was excellent, as was the mixture of delegates – at least the ones I met. This came as a breath of fresh air after some of the rail industry conferences I have attended in recent years.
Maybe I have been unlucky but the focus seems, increasingly, to be on getting a programme full of CEOs saying similar things – often with a Ministerial keynote address which invariably delays the start of the conference by 30 minutes. Rarely will someone admit to having experienced (and learnt from) problems so we are fed a diet of sanitized sales pitches instead.
I think it’s time that someone produced a review website for conference organizers and speakers. Instead of filling in a piece of paper that no one will ever see again, delegates should get online and give their views on the content, clarity and honesty of the presentations. Speakers would soon learn that sanitized presentations are not interesting and that they need to speak more candidly. I for one would certainly check out the conference organizer and speakers before booking my next conference (and parting with the substantial sums now paid by delegates).
It will never happen, of course. Instead we will continue to be served up ‘conferences’ that are nothing of the sort and are, at best, indifferent networking events. Please let me know if you have any particularly good or bad experiences you can share!