Your conference is lacking!
Yes, it lacks the connective tissue to support it participants’ true business objectives for attending your event. Yes, it lacks the connective tissue of an obvious framework for the current and future needs of its stakeholders.
Connective tissue is a material that supports the vital organs of your body. It provides scaffolding that binds and surrounds other tissues and parts of the body. It connects organs and forms the walls of blood vessels.
The Body’s Use Of Connective Tissue
Connective tissue is a vital part of our body.
From ligaments to tendons to bone to cartilage to plasma, connective tissue has a wide variety of functions. It connects muscles and organs. It helps repair damaged areas of our body. It provides an internal framework to support our organs, bones and muscles. It even replaces other types of tissue following injuries. (The Free Dictionary by Farlex.)
Connective tissue helps hold our body together, supports other tissues and even transports substances. It is an essential part of our body.
The Metaphors Of Connective Tissue And Building A House
So how does the metaphor of our body’s connective tissue relate to conferences?
Imagine you’re going to build a house. You need some standard building materials. Concrete, wood, steel, insulation, windows, doors, roofing materials, etc.
However, you have one major problem with your house. You are not allowed to use anything to attach these parts together. So you try to prop windows and doors on top of wood. You place your lumber on concrete blocks.
You go to various specialized workers to ask them to help you construct the house. You release an RFP asking for professionals to submit their ideas on how to use their expertise in building your home. You get window and door specialists involved. You ask the steel workers and the lumber employees to assist. You include the concrete experts and the shingles professionals. You assemble the best group of authorities in subcommittees to build your house.
So your team of building whizzes carefully assembles your house, without any materials to hold the pieces together. Each subcommittee does their job really well.
But for how long will your house last? What happens when the first gust of wind hits it?
More than likely your house is going to collapse. Even with all of the professional experts being involved. Without something holding each of the pieces together, it will not serve its full potential or purpose.
Your Conference, That House And Connective Tissue
Your conference is just like that house.
Now imagine your body without any connective tissue. All the organs and body parts just float around on the inside. Our bodies would just not work properly without connective tissue.
And your conference is not working properly without its connective tissue between its stakeholders and their business objectives.
Most conferences lack the connective tissue between its business strategy and its customers’ business needs. It lacks a dedicated overarching framework to pursue programming that helps its stakeholders fulfill their business objectives. It lacks leadership strategy–a clear point-of-view regarding the alignment of all its programming to invest in the right things that helps its stakeholders’ business success.
Building that connective tissue requires treating the entire conference development process differently. We have to see our conference development as one big holistic system from strategy to solutions. It does not focus on logistics, venues, technical sub committees and registration first. It focuses on its target customers and their business needs today and tomorrow. It focuses on helping its stakeholders meet their business objectives first before ever charging into the silos of logistics, committees and conference processes.
Your conference’s connective tissue is identifying the business objectives that your programming fulfills and how it meets the needs of your stakeholders. And these are very different than learning objectives for each session.
How is your conference’s connective tissue of business objectives different from learning objectives? What happens to all of our technical expert-filled subcommittees when we focus on the connective tissue of meeting our stakeholder’s business objectives first?