How Conference Organizers Waste a Gathering Opportunity

Humans are a lot like herd animals, we all looooove to gather in groups, graze, and moo at one another. This is a simple fact, you bring 20 people to my house this Saturday and I can almost guarantee that they are all going to end up in the kitchen eating my food, sitting around my table¬† and talking some nonsense until all hours of the night or until I kick them out, whichever comes first…. and I would love it because we are all the same.

It is for this reason that I will never understand the meeting, event or conference planner that does not set aside a percentage of their event real estate to help people do what they do naturally. I was actually at an industry event in Chicago earlier this year and in this huge common area they had set up a coffee station and not one seat or even bean bag.  The space was empty and no one was drinking the coffee because there was no opportunity to interact.

The next time you sit down and look at the common areas of your upcoming conference or meeting, think about filling those areas with stools, tables, chairs, couches and snacks. Go overboard, attendees want this, really they do.

If you look at the empty space on your floor plan as an asset rather than a liability, you will be rewarded with a substantial return on investment. That ROI is happy attendees who create connections by doing what humans do best…… and happy attendees talk and will share their experience with others and isn’t that what this is all about.

Keith Johnston

Keith Johnston

Keith is the Managing Partner of i3 Events but is most widely known as the outspoken publisher of the event industry blog PlannerWire. In addition to co-hosting the Bullet List and Event Tech Pull Up Podcasts, he has been featured in Plan Your Meetings, Associations Now, Convene, Event Solutions, and has appeared on the cover of Midwest Meetings Magazine.

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