In an effort to tighten the proverbial Y&A belt, we decided to forego conference attendance in favor of webinars, etc in 2009. This year, as things are on the upswing, I have been fortunate to get out of my lair and attend a few client trade conferences and seminars. For the larger events, I am amazed that conference organizers are still allowing presenters to so boldly pitch their own wares. Not to steal Judge Judy’s shtick, but “Don’t pee on me and tell me it’s raining.”
For the last few years, I have heard countless conference planners and owners bemoan decreasing attendance sponsorship and attendance numbers. No kidding. Why would I attend a conference and pay 1,000 bucks or more—plus travel expenses—only to hear a sales preso when I expected to come and learn something. If that’s the case, next time I’ll buy the $150 conference expo pass and go from booth to booth asking for my own tailored sales pitch. Conferences are always great for networking and exposing your organization, but there needs to be a safe haven for pure and simple learning.