Erin Fuller, CAE, is group president of the Coulter Companies, which offers management, events, and consulting services for associations and other nonprofits — meaning she has a lot of experience with a lot of different size meetings and conferences. In a post on Coulter’s blog, she draws three conclusions about face-to-face meetings based on events that Coulter managed for two of its clients, the International Association of Continuing Education & Training (IACET) and Association Media & Publishing (AM&P):
1. Smaller is friendlier. This is actually stolen from Claridge’s hotels, but rings true. The relatively intimate scale of the IACET and AM&P events made them feel special, and more like a celebration than a convention center filled with hundreds.
2. Bells and whistles might be overrated — both events used a minimal amount of staging, production, signage and marketing.
3. We all obsess over lead time — and just in time works just fine too. Neither event had a long lead time in terms of planning — but the right people showed up just the same. When it is important, people will come.