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This is my diary....what I make sense of, around me. You'll find short prose on contemporary topics that interest me. What can you expect - Best adjectives? …. hmm occasionally, tossed around flowery verbs ?…. Nope, haiku-like super-brevity? … I try to. Thanks for dropping by & hope to see you again

January 24, 2009

The Business of Conferencing

This week I attended a International conference in New Delhi, it was a 2 day affair with about 250 Foreign delegates participating from 32 countries in Africa. 

For the past 2 years I have attended several conferences in India and with a bit of hindsight and experience sharing a few thoughts on the business of conferencing.

I treat them as cardinal truths taken with a pinch of salt and humor
• Essentially they are networking forums where people with a nose for business opportunities sniff around intensely. The conference may be packaged with paraphernalia like speeches by experts & eminent personalities, panel discussions, exhibitions etc but it all boils down to Networking, some discreet and others not so.

• You will find conferences of every hue & type packaged as Colloquium ,Symposiums, Theme events, Industrial fairs & exhibitions or simply Summits throughout the year. This industry feeds a whole array of sub industries ranging from exhibitors, event organizers, expert speakers , hardware vendors, PR agencies and other service suppliers.

• For business starters, the conferences provide a platform for leapfrogging into the mindset and; perceptions of intended segments, for established players it’s a way of keeping up with competition and; staying relevant in Business.

• The Business of conferencing draws the best of suckers ,the big fishes come in as Platinum, Gold & Silver Sponsors while the small fishes get hooked up as partners to every conceivable item on the table ranging from Delegate kits, Travel, Media etc etc..

• The economics of conferencing assures that the promoter at least breaks even if not make tidy profits unless of course he goes overboard with spending.One way they keep the expenses under control or even minimize it is by hitchhiking on others. For instance an educational institution can be roped in to sponsor the event hall and food services by making them event partners. If the budget does not draw expert PR agencies to bring media traffic and coverage just go ahead & tie up with some nondescript media house willing to suck up as media partners. Internet B2B business portals are another cheap source to find event coverage that front line media cannot.

• Dont expect enlightened speakers to come & deliver insightful sermons on burning topics of the day at conferences. It could be some apprentice at the foreign embassy with horrible diction or some foreigner in some other orbit of his own. If it’s some motormouth bureaucrat you can expect him to be all over the place eating up precious time and adding little to the event

• Inviting top notch Govt ministers and official’s is a sure way of inviting trouble, not only is their itinerary unconfirmed till the last conceivable minute but due care has to be taken to protocol lest you rub them on the wrong side. 

• Don’t expect great food or services in the conferences even though they may normally be held at 5 star hotels. There can be a total blackout also (as my experience counts) , as the regular & alternate supply may go up in smoke at the same time.
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