That applies to conferences, too. I am attending the big conference for my profession, training and development. This event only comes around once a year as do most conferences. There are about 9,000 attendees from around the world. It is exciting to see so many people convene who have a keen and sincere interest in learning. Attendees range from high-level executives of corporate universities to instructional designers, e-learning experts and more.
There are over 350 exhibitors and more than 240 concurrent sessions. Yes, lots and lots of choices. Many of the exhibitors host their own little presentations to give conference attendees a flavor of their product or service. There are numerous forums, chat areas and speed mentoring. I am always overwhelmed when I attend this event. I had a good first day but as my day winds down, I realized I only spent 4 hours on actual learning. I have been at the convention area 9 hours today. What did I do with the other 5 hours? Wait! I waited in many, long lines. I waited in line to get into and exit the opening session, book store, for coffee, the exhibit halls, the bathroom, and lunch. Walking from one meeting room to the other could take more than a half hour. I spent about a half hour eating lunch and networking.
This all made me greatly appreciate the Office Dynamics Event of Distinction, an intimate conference of 300 attendees; no exhibitors; no long lines; minimal concurrent sessions. Since I started the Office Dynamics conference for administrative and executive assistants 20 years ago, I’ve always believed less is better. I purposely kept our conference small. In fact, for years, I would not go over 100 attendees. Good things come in small packages. An intimate event is better. Attendees really get to know each other and form life-long bonds. My staff and I get personal time with most of our attendees. While there are 9,000 people at this convention, I hardly get to know any of them. I feel like I am in a sea of people swarming around, trying to get to the next session.
I also believe in keeping concurrent sessions limited. I always hated it when I was an attendee and wanted to see several speakers but they were presenting at the same time. At our event, all attendees get to hear the same great speakers 85% of the 2 ½ days. Because we don’t have long convention halls for attendees to walk through, they get more time for education and networking.
Yes, less is better! Good things can and do come in small packages. It’s about quality . . . not quantity.