Why go to a conference when you have the web?

Posted on by Greg Cholmondeley | No Comments »

QuestionEvery now and again someone asks something that makes us question what we do. Last year an AppForum attendee asked a simple question to the effect of: “AppForum has great content and I learn a lot, but why can’t all this just be delivered via webinars?” The short answer involved mumbling something about networking and interactions with speakers, vendors and other attendees but the longer answer evolved into another question: “How can conferences be structured to deliver more value to physical attendees than they could EVER get remotely?”

The answer we came up with really makes sense, so yeah; we have some good reasons to bring everyone back to Vegas again.

It involves learning. We’ve restructured as much of the conference to be interactive workshops as possible because we all learn better by doing than just by listening. While turning presentations into classes is more work for our presenters … doing interactive and hands-on group activities is a great way to learn. Oh, and it pretty much requires you to be there.

It involves depth. We’ve bumped up each session to be an hour and a half long in order to make them deep enough for you to really learn something. Half-hour or 45-minute presentations are fine for overviews, but there just isn’t enough time to get a good understanding and practice with exercises. Now, imagine sitting in an online webinar for 90 minutes.

It involves spontaneity. There are no mute buttons in the sessions, receptions or other activities. As much as we’re planning everything, we know that shared observations, questions and brainstormed ideas will take conversations in unexpected directions. After all, we’re bringing in the brain trust of the industry with sales trainers, top vendor executives, and leaders in the printing industry. New ideas, opportunities and approaches will be discovered or invented. They always are.

So, we truly believe it does make sense to travel and physically attend conferences even with today’s telecommuting technologies – as long as their sessions are developed and delivered in ways that could not be achieved online. If that goal is satisfied, then the only other alternative would be to bring a number of top industry experts to run three days of workshops at your site. Think about what that would cost, then clear your calendar for February 9-11.


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