Take a deep breath.
Now hold it. How long can you hold it before you have to exhale?
You cannot be content with what you’re simply holding in your lungs. Your fresh breath suddenly becomes carbon dioxide and needs to be exhaled.
It’s a natural part of breathing. Inhale oxygen. Then exhale carbon dioxide.
If you breathe carbon dioxide, you can get into trouble.
Breathing 1% of carbon dioxide in the air will make some people feel drowsy. At 2% it is a mild narcotic causing increased blood pressure. At 5% it makes some people feel dizzy and confused, causes headaches and creates visual and hearing dysfunctions. At 8% it leads to unconsciousness in five to ten minutes.
Your conference can be like a breath of fresh air or breathing carbon dioxide.
New conference growth can be from new attendees and exhibitors. Or it can be from creating a new experience. Or the growth can be from enhanced quality and improvements.
Ultimately, you need new growth for your attendees to feel as if your conference experience is like a breath of fresh air.
The Conference Entitlement Mentality
Many conference organizers have an entitlement mentality. They claim that their attendees and exhibitors will always return because they have no other choices. Therefore they don’t have to change. They can do it the same way they’ve always done it.
Go ahead and adopt that mentality. Then watch what happens over the course of a couple years. It won’t be pretty.
Your experience becomes like carbon dioxide. It needs to be exhaled or avoided.
Your attendees do have choices. One choice is invest those dollars in a different conference experience that may not even be one of your competitor’s conferences. That’s right. They can take those dollars and play elsewhere.
Worse Than Stale Bread
Your conference must continually change and evolve. If not, it becomes stale.
Stale bread is hard and leathery. It’s difficult to chew. We’d never think about using it for a sandwich. It’s tough to consume and is tasteless.
Yet many conference experiences taste like stale bread. They lack freshness and quality. Many of the speakers are out of date and overused. The experience feels boring and clichéd. The conference is unoriginal and like something of the past.
It’s stale and smells musty.
Stagnation Attracts The Wrong Things
Stagnation occurs when the conference organizers stop innovating. The flow of new ideas stops.
Organizers rely on past schedules, past speakers and past experiences. They try to recreate the success of earlier years. It worked before so it must work now. But they forget that today’s context is different than the context of an earlier time. It is a different era, a different economy, a different period.
Stagnant water is dangerous for drinking because it’s an incubator for bacteria and parasites. It may be contaminated. It can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes that transmit disease.
Think about that. Your conference can become an incubator of the wrong things. It can be contaminated.
Your conference experience needs to be drained. It needs new flow. It needs new ideas.
What are some ways to give conference experiences a shot of freshness? Where do you look for innovative ideas for your conference planning?