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Properly Planning For Conferences Prevents Wasted Sponsorship

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We attended a major industry conference with a huge corporate sponsorship. As far as we could tell, however, that effort was nearly a complete waste of cash.

Obviously we can’t tell you the event or the company that put up their money to get their name on the program, but we can give you the highlights:

  • The “title sponsor” got to put up banners and get top billing in the program
  • The “title sponsor” paid for a reception with an open bar for over two hundred attendees
  • The “title sponsor” got five free tickets for its own staff to come to the event

This must have cost a fortune, and all of the attendees were milling around having a grand time. The event looked something like this:

business consultants at sponsored event

© Flickr user alexdecarvalho

The sponsor did make use of those five free tickets. They brought a handful of staff people, each of which were wearing company shirts with their official corporate logo. But for the entire, ninety minute reception, these five people only did one thing: stand at the same table and talk only to each other.

This is a business process error of the highest magnitude. Sure, the business’ name was all over the place, but the reason that the sponsor received these tickets was so they would have direct access to the attendees. Failure to actually go out and meet people, exchange business cards, or have further conversation makes the expense nearly a complete waste. Why would this company have its employees stand around chatting when hundreds of prospects were in the very same room?

The likely answer is that the sponsor did not define a workflow. It’s easy to do this. Consider the following idea:

  1. Before the conference identify anyone who might be in attendance that you want to meet. Distribute these names among your employees.
  2. Before the cocktail party survey the room and decide where each employee will network.
  3. During the event, have a system for collecting business cards and taking notes on conversations.
  4. Immediately afterwards, refine and improve on any notes you have while they are fresh in your mind.
  5. After the conference, follow up on people that each employee met to search for opportunities.

This is just one example of workflow and it only took five minutes to invent. It might take another ten minutes to implement. And although this proposed business process is far from perfect, it’s much better than just standing around talking to each other! A little bit of planning and direction can go a long when when it’s compared to no planning at all!

It’s very unlikely that these employees only talked to each other with the intention of wasting their company’s money. Rather, they just failed to step outside of their comfort zone and network. Perhaps the employer could’ve sent people who are more inclined to branch out, but in reality, a simple bit of direction can lead to nearly anyone making better use of their time. A few networking tips beforehand, and a direct plan for how to maximize the time and money invested in this event would’ve led to a much better outcome.

So much lost opportunity in business is unintentional. If you don’t have a business process, your business and your employees are likely to pursue the path of least resistance. Take a few minutes to plan. You’ll be amazed how it influences your results.

Struggling to implement a functional process within your organization? We can help! Contact the business improvement consultants at AccelaWork today. We’ve seen all sorts of organizational problems and we can get you on the fastest route to success.

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Robby Slaughter
Robby Slaughter is a workflow and productivity expert. He is a nationally known speaker on topics related to personal productivity, corporate efficiency and employee engagement. Robby is the founder of AccelaWork, a company which provides speakers and consultants to a wide variety of organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, regional non-profits, small businesses and individual entrepreneurs. Robby has written numerous articles for national magazines and has over one hundred published pieces. He is also the author of several books, including Failure: The Secret to Success. He has also been interviewed by international news outlets including the Wall Street Journal. Robby’s newest book is The Battle For Your Email Inbox.
Robby Slaughter


Troublemaker and productivity/workflow expert. Slightly more complex than 140 characters will permit.
@lorraineball First probably depends on the business. But second is likely training, especially with regard to sales. - 13 hours ago
Robby Slaughter
Robby Slaughter

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