When you step into a conference session, here is the generally expected outcome:
Thought leader at the front of the room speaks. Audience members take notes. Audience walks away feeling enlightened.
But think back to the sessions you’ve actually attended. As you sat there, I’ll bet you weren’t just simply taking notes. Anecdotes came to mind that were relevant to the talk. Insights from your own experiences flashed before you. And what about all the clarifying questions you had? If only it wasn’t too intimidating to ask, since no one else was asking.
When a room full of people are all internally running through monologues, what you have is wasted potential.What would happen if the environment was conducive to idea sharing? What if that same session was about facilitating discussion among audience members, rather than talking at them?
That is the very premise that sparked Engaging Associations Forum, which is a conference for association executives that will be held in Ottawa, Ontario July 19th-21st.
The conference was crafted by Meagan Rockett and Doreen Ashton Wagner of Greenfield Services Inc., after the former had returned from yet another unfulfilling conference experience. The sessions were not actionable and the environment wasn’t conducive to interaction.
Doreen’s response? “Well, what can we do about it?”
What they could do, (and what they did!) was start their own conference entirely designed to address what they felt was missing from the existing options.
Among other things, their event manifesto outlines that they are:
- Creating an event that enables maximum interaction between participants; because hearing about experiences, regardless of whether they are successes or failures, offer valuable lessons.
- Securing speakers and facilitators who are forward-thinking and challenge us to do better.
- Producing innovative educational sessions that appeal to multiple learning styles and age groups.
- Making learning, exchanging and co-creating FUN.
Not a bad offering, is it? They have also worked to make the event affordable, and registration is currently only $269 CAD (Americans, don’t forget to factor in that ~1.3 exchange rate).
AssociationSuccess.org is proud to announce that we have partnered with Engaging Associations Forum, as we feel strongly that their goal in the physical space is right in line with our goal in the online space. We will be enthusiastically present at the event, and hope to see you there too!
To get an idea of the conference’s value, you can check out their Hack-A-Thon Discussion Paper from the 2016 Forum.