What not to do for a one-day conference

Yesterday I attended a one-day conference for business media people like yours truly. The agenda on the Web site looked terrific, and this organization has a great reputation. While the presenters were really good, and the small size (just two of us in the audience at one session) made for interesting and intimate conversation, there were some major problems.

Number 1: They rejiggered the schedule at the last minute without informing registrants. So someone who planned to drive from New Hampshire into Boston later to catch a later session she really wanted to go to while missing rush-hour traffic ended up missing the session, too. She said she had checked the schedule on the association's Web site that morning, too, to make sure nothing had changed. She was a bit miffed, to put it mildly.

Number 2: It didn't start on time. It was supposed to start at 9 a.m. with a welcoming address from the association's regional governor, but no one was there. No one informed us of anything. We sat around, chatting and having some coffee, and when I looked at my watch and saw it was 9:30, I freaked out and went to the person at the reg desk to see if maybe it was being held in a different room and I was missing it. She said that it would start sometime soon. Eventually, it did.

Number 3: Three of the 10 sessions were cancelled with no notice. In one case, one of the organizers came into the room of a session that was ongoing to say the next one was cancelled, with no explanation, just an interruption.

Number 4: On the schedule they handed out on site, it ended a full hour sooner than the original schedule said it would. Which would have been fine, since that meant I didn't have to deal with the traffic both ways, but it would have been nice to know ahead of time so my honey wouldn't have had to leave work early to come home and feed the hounds. And the schedule change wasn't due to the cancelled sessions, since those were still on the new agenda. I don't get it.

Number 5: There weren't any people with physical disabilities there, as far as I could tell, which was a good thing. The breakfast and lunch were two longish flights down from the meeting rooms, and the only elevators were on the far other side of the building from both the banquet room and the meeting spaces.

Fortunately, the presenters were good, and one session gave me a lot of takeaways we can use here at work, but I was really disappointed at the sloppiness of it all. I wasn't going to post about it, though, until they sent me a link to an online evaluation just now, and it went to a meeting on a totally different topic! I mean, c'mon guys, that's ridiculous. And what's worse (for us editor-types, anyway), there was a typo on it (and on the meeting agenda).

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