Avoid These Hazardous Conference Planning Thinkholes [Part 2]

Fix it

Ever run your car over some severe potholes?

It can do some major damage to your tires. And to your vehicle too.

Potholes can be an expensive problem for both drivers and cities. Just like potholes, conference planning thinkholes can be an expensive problem for your event. They can create some major cavities and damage to your participants’ conference experience.

Adapted from author Will Mancini’s writings on organizational leadership.

Defining Conference Planning Thinkholes

A thinkhole is a thinking sinkhole. It is a depression in our ability to provide adequate mental assessment about our conference planning.

Thinkholes keep you and your team from reflecting, evaluating, judging and thinking. Analytic and evaluative thinking gets eclipsed by the need to produce something, anything, at the moment.

The first step is to identify these thinkholes. They are keeping you from success. They are securing your comfort of status quo.

Four More Hazardous Conference Planning Thinkholes

Here are the first three Conference Planning Thinkholes you should avoid:

1. Conference Planning Treadmill Thinkhole
2. The “I’m Competent Trap” Thinkhole
3. The “Slippery Slope Of Needs Based Planning” Thinkhole

Read more about them here.

The next four conference planning thinkholes can suck you and your team into avoidance quicksand. They can quickly become the stopping place for unknown failures.

4. Society’s Vortex Of The BuzzConference Thinkhole

These cultural conference whirlpools embrace every societal change and technology tool available. The challenge is that the conference planning team never spends adequate time evaluating which tools are effective and worked. They are always on to the next thing. The kaleidoscope tilt-o-whirl of new shiny tech tools and cultural trends becomes like hundreds of droplets of mercury. You can’t pick them up and examine them thoroughly. The vision of constantly being cutting-edge misses the deeper mark of helping their industry or profession advance. The goal of being a buzzmaker supersedes the goal of advancing the conference’s mission and purpose.

5. The Stagnate StuckConference Thinkhole

This thinkhole is the exact opposite of the BuzzConference. There are hundreds of conferences that are stuck in the vortex of not being able to keep their head above the waves of cultural change. These changes outpace the planning team’s energy and discipline for new learning. The team just grows too tired of even thinking about the change. Instead they revert to what’s been always done. They embrace the motto, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” They glorify and propagate the past.

6. The Prepackaged Photocopied Conference Program Thinkhole

This thinkhole is sly as a fox and very deceptive. It’s way too easy to borrow other conference successful ideas. The conference planning team gets caught up in copying other’s great ideas and reproducing what worked for them. They look for fast-track models, plug-and-play programs and duplicating stories of success. This thinkhole keeps planning teams from the process of understanding what their own customers’ needs are. It keeps them from originality. Instead of focusing on process, they buy the product of faux facsimiles without contextual adaption.

7. The Standard One-Size Fits All Experience Thinkhole

This thinkhole rut gives little thought or attention for participant context and uniqueness. The conference planning team is stuck maintaining the conference structure, process and format from yesteryear. They are unable to help their strongest stakeholders because the focus is maintaining status quo. Thus their industry experts, veterans and thought leaders leave their conferences because one-size fits all does not fit them!

Which of these thinkholes is your conference team experiencing now? Which dynamics keep your conference planning team from creating and discovering unique participant experiences?

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