March 20, 2019

What do we want from industry events?



“437 emails! Are you kidding me?” Justin closed his laptop in disgust.

He had just returned from Vegas. He was jet lagged and drained…of energy, obviously, of his time and money, too.

“Events,” he thought to himself, “Such high expectations. Such consistent disappointments. I gotta change the way I’m doing this.”

What are the benefits of events? What is the value?

How can we improve our events to help each of us as individuals and our industry as a whole?

“So often I wonder…which event should I go to? There are so many! And so few actually bring value.”

The temptation is to go because you think you need to go and if you choose not to, rumors about your company going down might start….but why are you actually going?

What are your objectives? Are you going because someone else is going and you think you need to go? Are they clients you need to see? Is it a perfect excuse to get out of the office and be away from your daily routine and annoying co-workers?


I stopped attending a lot of the larger events because my experience was:* Impersonal
* Quick
* Speaking with people you already know…
* …about nothing much

Nothing is really being developed. I would even argue that the relationship is not even being developed.

I could easily do that on the phone or chat without having to see them in person.

And the cost is really high. Two or three or four days out of the office. A couple of thousand dollars. You come back to a ton of work that has piled up in the mean time.

I’ve been replacing these events with full day, smaller events.

There are two types. The first is visits to partners. Really getting under the skin of how we work together and how we can improve. Going deep. Talk through problems and talk through what is going well.

The second is PSM when I can go deeper and really get into something that I want to explore. It’s the opposite of superficial. Of course the value that I get depends on how much I put in. Most of the people who attend really get it and are up for sharing. The bullshit is kept to a minimum. People are really talking from their experience. That brings a lot more value than a short, sharp, impersonal, superficial event.

I’d like to develop a checklist we can use when considering whether to go to an event.

Questions for discussion
1. What is the present state of events in our industry
2. What would be the ideal?
3. What are pathways to get to the ideal?
4. What is a good checklist for you to use to decide which events to attend?