Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Conference Post

I'm on site at a conference this week. (don't worry, no port-a-potties needed)

It's in Chicago which means I can stay in my own bed which is nice. It's at the Ambassador East Hotel which has the historical Pump Room Restaurant. As soon as you start walking into the restaurant you see tons of pictures of the famous people who've come to eat at the Pump Room since it opened back in 19XX. I don't know when it opened, but I saw a picture of a very young Milton Berle so it had to be a good while back.

My reason to post about this is a simple thing that proves to be not so simple to some. I am not a Neurosurgeon.... but I could take a bone saw and a scalpel and get inside the cranium and do what I think would work. Would I have the desired, effective outcome? I doubt it. SO, why is it that someone who is not in my field thinks it OK to come behind me and change my logistics without consulting me.

While what I do is not rocket science, there is truly an art and finesse and yes, a little bit of psychological science to meeting planning. If there wasn't research done on both logistics and the most effective situation and environmental methods conducive to adult learning, then every time you went to a conference it would be the same theater set up with someone lecturing to you from a podium for 10 hours a day. (This ain't your grandfather's conference anymore!)

Sorry, I'm on a rant that I cannot express to the person who went behind me thinking they knew my job better than I do. It's rather rude and unfortunately there wasn't time nor staffing to make the change so the bad set up has to last all day (unless I want to pay a $250 room change fee on my already stretched budget) Most of me feels bad for the attendees who are cramped into a 3 person per table classroom style set up. But the tiniest part of me is glad because I've already heard rumblings from attendees about being cramped. Attendee evaluations are the easiest way for a meeting planner to say "I told you so" without actually saying it. It might look like it's working from the front of the room, but the end result is the impression the attendee takes away with them.

OK, rant over... The world is pretty again!


cb said...

But is there enough free food?

AND-- are there enough bathroom stalls handy?

Lea in SC said...

The Pump Room opened in 1938:
Princess Lea
Mistress of Useless Knowledge and Internet Factoids

SUEB0B said...

I appreciate when a meeting is set up so that attendees can be comfortable and happy while learning.

I once went to a lunch meeting with the director when he was on a big diet. For lunch, he ordered a big bowl of lettuce and a salad bar that consisted solely of raw veg. No carbs, no protein. A piece of bread would have been so very nice! But no! There were some pretty unhappy employees that day, I'm tellin ya.