I was recently doing some work for a client of EIGHT PR & Marketing, Lime Venue Portfolio. They are becoming fanatic about advocating the very best events; of expecting and delivering more, creating amazing experiences and doing genuinely fine work.
It’s deeply infectious, and put me on the hunt for case studies, video, examples of best in class events from around the world. We got round to talking about the often misplaced perceptions of some delegates on the idea of ‘boring conferences’, and the need to passionate show them that is another way.
We started talking about what amazing conferences look like, how they bare no similarity to the mundane expectations of business events. Here’s one, at ExCeL London with LinkedIn, I’m no techy but I want to go to that event, I don’t event know if its relevant to me but I want to go.
We searched for more. What others are out there that can really be held up as best in class, of showing that business events can be creative and dynamic experiences just like every other event out there.
How great it was to name PCMA Convening Leaders as another example of best in class. Why, said my client? Why is a meetings industry congress about the meetings industry so good? I don’t know I replied, I’ll tell you when I get back, I may even do a blog…
So why is it that this conference gets it so right. I left Vancouver exhausted, invigorated and deeply satisfied, and I’ve since had a week to ponder on why this is.
Lets get the easy stuff out the way; it’s infinitely easier to manage a conference when you have a delegation that has the enthusiasm of those at PCMA Convening Leaders. These are serious people, who love their industry and come thirsty for information and inspiration. They network, have conversations, join groups, give their time freely to each other and genuinely throw themselves into the experience.
But isn’t this the genius of the conference organiser? The whole pre event experience of Convening Leaders – starting with the 2015 event – is so strong that delegates arrive ready and waiting to get involved, to work with the event to make it magnificent, expectations are high, but so is confidence that they will be met. How cool is that?
PCMA also work incredibly hard on content. They understand the value of this commodity in events; they work hard to get the best people to talk about subjects that matter. They think broadly, they look across business to find the subjects that will dictate our world over the next year and beyond. Convening Leaders takes place in January and is the perfect set up for the year because of this content.
But there is something else as well. When I submitted my pitch to the guys at Lime Venue Portfolio I said something that I believe very strongly “A story told well is never boring, regardless of the subject matter”.
There is elegance in seeing a convention done well, an event pulled together seamlessly and professionally. Produced in way so transparent that you can see the organisers thinking writ large and understand their DNA and valued; what bought them to make the decisions they do.
You watch PCMA experimenting on conference techniques and ideas continually, you watch them fail and succeed. You find yourself rooting for them, trying to help them. It’s like being on the field with them. The people are personal, passionate and fun, I like them, and I want to listen to them.
Production plays its part. Everyone wants to up their game when they go to PCMA Convening Leaders, the best tech and AV is experimented with and this adds to the experience and theatre. I am a marketer and a sucker for great production.
Five days later, a hundred conversations, dozens of discussions and debates, I feel like my post festive mind has been recharged and restocked. I’ll be quoting research, people, and ideas for the next five years based on the five days I spent in Vancouver. I’ll be following up on conversations; I’ve made some new friends and was delighted to meet again some older ones. I’m frazzled, but I’ve fallen in love with my industry again.
I’m not the only one.
We’re incredibly lucky to have a leader in our industry like the folks at PCMA, doing their stuff so well because of the people that involve themselves in the association.
There is a better way. There are examples of business events that make us all proud to do what we do. PCMA Convening Leaders was one for me and my kind, but its reassuring that out of this event, a thousand more just like it will be born.