Friday, August 27, 2010

More Thoughts on #ASAE10

I knew that I had to get my thoughts out yesterday as early as possible because a much more eloquent post from Maddie Grant would be on its way. If you haven't read it yet, you should, especially the comments.

I wanted to write a bit more regarding some comments left on both posts. Michelle (@ExpoQueenUSA) asked some good questions, which I will answer from my perspective.

1) Did they plan the activities, sessions, and expo according to the needs of those attending? - I would say yes. A few speakers fell flat, but nobody bats 1,000. And it is hard to have one conference covering such a vast array of attendees. I think that is why the MMC and Tech Conference are so popular. They are more laser focused.

2) Did they communicate their travel info, schedule of events, etc. successfully with attendees, exhibitors and speakers, etc before the show? (In print, email, online) - Totally, 100%

3)Did they encourage and enable all parties to communicate, connect, and ENGAGE with each other? - Encourage yes, enable mostly. Others and I mentioned the layout issues didn't help.

4) Were they "hospitable" and make the conference more about their guest (me) than about themselves? - This one is dicey. ASAE was truly hospitable. I have never met a staff person that wasn't super friendly and helpful. However, as noted, the general session stuff was much more about ASAE than the attendees.

5) Did they spend their money wisely on things that will help me go home fulfilled, or were they wasteful? - The only truly wasteful thing I saw was the Guilt by Association video. I skipped Joy Behar, but to me, if they paid her, then that is a big waste.

I would add a 6th question, which I think is what both Maddie and I were trying to address: What could be done better for next time?

Tammy had a great comment suggesting some behind the scenes sessions given by ASAE staff about how they planned the conference. Brilliant! I know not everyone in attendance is ready for cutting edge. Some would just love to know how it was done. What an opportunity!

A few other suggestions I will throw out for fodder:
- For the second time in 3 years, I led a session at the request of ASAE that was a sort of idea swap for trade associations. It was again, very well received. I would love to see a dedicated time slot that was dedicated to various idea swaps. The non-DC folks don't get to witness the greatness that is these swaps. Bring them to annual for all to enjoy. Maybe as that last Tuesday lunch session.

- Have an un-conference room during each session slot. Why not?

- Have the show floor open Monday and Tuesday instead of Sunday and Monday. That way booth tear down doesn't prevent exhibitor staff from attending anything.

- Add a space for Twitter handle on the name badge. Can't hurt to ask.

Looking back, I found my posts regarding 2009 and 2008 ASAE Annuals. Looks like I already suggested the idea swap thing. One bummer, I see several themes emerging. Need more education slots. Need less cheese factor in general sessions. As Maddie and others have said, I hope the right folks are listening.

And again - thank you ASAE for all you do. You truly have a tough job keeping all of us happy.


Maddie Grant said...

Thanks Matt for referencing my post! I really love your suggestions for ASAE too. I really tried to ask some questions in my post that might lead to constructive ideas rather than just rant about stuff for the sake of ranting - this post definitely helps further that discussion.

Garry Polmateer said...

I agree on all counts, but would like to give my take as an exhibitor. I was asked by my company to act as Tradeshow Manager this time around which means I found myself responsible for all booth logistics.

I was very surprised and glad that things went off without a hitch. ASAE did a great job providing us with ample information (the best were the Youtube videos I watched before the show), and support throughout the conference. Big win there.

I wish I could have attended more sessions but also accept that I can't live in both worlds at the same time. I was able to squeeze in one or two. I also felt that the general sessions (even though I'm working on my CAE, even though I spent 8 years working for associations) could have been better spent, especially if they had better speakers and less video stuff.

Thanks for a great blog.

-Garry (@DarthGarry)

Tammy T. said...

Thanks for referencing my comment! And I love, love, love the idea of having idea swaps at the meeting. As someone outside of DC, I see those postings on the list serve and I'm always envious of those who have the chance to go. Talk about brilliant!

Michelle @ExpoQueenUSA said...

Hi Matt! Wow...thanks for taking the time to post your perspective, and yes, your sixth question addresses what should happen as a result of how the 5 questions were answered.

I think we all agree that we share our opinions/insight with appreciation of what ASAE does and to help them grow in the future. ASAE...if you are listening...thank you for all of your hard work. It does not go un-noticed!

Scott Briscoe said...


You don't have to say it... trust me, trust me, trust me -- we are listening. And we see this for what it is: constructive dialog. We're not feeling attacked. Happy to see all the ideas, thoughts, concerns, praises, barbs and everything else.

Scott Briscoe
Editor-in-Chief, New & Social Media

Jeffrey Cufaude said...

Appreciate your thoughts on this conversation happening across many blogs right now.

The Idea Swaps seem like a no brainer that maybe hasn't been adopted because folks don't seem them as "high level" enough. That's crazy.

People come to conferences seeking big ideas relevant to their contexts and practical solutions. An idea swap is just the place for that. It might be renamed to sound more compelling, but the conversation would likely be great.