Content Or Meeting Logistics: Which Is More Important?
by Jeff Hurt
Friday, June 17, 2011

“That was the best organized event I’ve ever attended. I’m registering now for next year because it was so well planned and orderly. Their logistic planning is impressive.”

Have you ever heard a conference attendee say that?

Of course not!

How many of your attendees register every year just because your logistics are well planned and managed? Or your food and beverage is tasty? Or the chairs were arranged nicely?  We hear from loyal repeat attendees if the meeting had good content. Or the experience was unique. Or if others were able to connect with likeminded individuals.

We also hear from loyal attendees if the content suffered and the experience was lacking. And we hear if the registration process was unorganized. Or there were not enough chairs. Or the food was bad.

So which is more important to the meeting planning process? The structure of the meeting or the content?

It’s the chicken and egg theory. Or is it?

Defining Important
Important means:

  • of great significance or having relevant and crucial value
  • likely to have a profound effect on success, survival or well-being
  • having high rank or status

So how significant and crucial is the content and attendee experience to your event? How likely is the content to have a profound effect on the success, survival or continued existence of your event?

Sure the logistics are important. You couldn’t have an event without them.

Yet, I’ve attended events that had stellar content and poor logistics. The content eclipsed the poor organization and I’d return in a heartbeat.

So if content is so critical, why don’t we spend more time discussing it during the planning process?

Are We Focused On The Glass?
Often I hear, “Is the glass half full or half empty?” Usually someone is trying to identify my view on the world as an optimist or a pessimist.

Do you ever hear someone say, “Well, I don’t care what’s in the glass. I only care about the glass.”

Is the container important? Yes! But not nearly as important as what we put in the glass. Sure, without the glass you couldn’t hold any liquids. But with only a glass, you lack substance.
So why do meeting professionals only focus on the container, the scaffolding, the logistics of their event? Why don’t they focus on the substance of their event?

Top Three Reasons People Attend Conferences
Why do people attend your events?

Is it for the organized logistics? The food and beverage? The smooth onsite registration process? The way the chairs are arranged?

Of course not.

The top three reasons people attend conferences are:

  1. Networking
  2. Education (and receive the most current information)
  3. To do business

If those are the three reasons why people attend events, shouldn’t we focus more on creating the experience and the content for that event?

The Three Types Of Events
Here are three types of events you can plan.

  1. An event with well organized logistics and poor content … is a fail.
  2. An event with poorly organized logistics and great content … is usually successful.
  3. An event that’s well organized and has great content … is a grand slam out of the park home run.

Which event do you want? What will it take to get you focused on planning the experience and the content in addition to the logistics?

It’s time to stop focusing on the glass and start focusing on the substance!

Which is more important to you and why? Why do you think conference and event organizers focus so much on the logistics and not the substance?

Note, the above piece is syndicated content. The original blog post and (and much much more!) can be found on Velvet Chainsaw's Midcourse Corrections.

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