“Survivor” at work: marathon conferences

Can I please rant for a minute?

When did business conferences become endless 12 to 14 hour marathons? This is when I am most unhappy at work.

My attention span gets shorter and shorter as conferences get longer. Skip lunch, skip breaks, serve bad coffee… you would have a better chance of me dancing the polka instead of paying attention. The only contribution I’m willing to make in these circumstances is to create a doll of the conference organizer and start stuffing pins in it.

I don’t understand the logic of these types of events. Does anyone really think we get more done if we hold people hostage in a meeting room for more than four hours?

When I plan a meeting or a conference, I cater to my ability to sit still, which is for about an hour at a time. I also don’t think starting early improves any event. When I organize a meeting, I tell the attendees “We start at 9:00 AM. If it’s critically urgent to do so, we can start at 8:00 AM. Anything before 8:00 AM is yesterday, so it’s not going to happen.”

I organize excellent snacks, a decent lunch break (amount of time + food) and to finish with at least a one-hour gap between the end of the day’s topics and the evening event. If it’s a multi-day event, I always organize something fun for one of the evenings—it’s just lazy to simply make a restaurant reservation. Bowling anyone? I will break 100 at some point…

I go to more and more conferences and meetings where simple creature comfort is completely disregarded. 30 people in a room for 20, no natural light all day, temperature too hot or too cold… all of these things sound petty and childish to even complain about, but they do impact the quality of the event. I’m sure you agree that when people are cranky the desired outcome is never as good. Tempers get short—well, I know mine does—and the ability to collaborate is lost.

Here’s all I ask—if you want me at your meeting, please let me organize it—I’ll bring the cupcakes! See you at 9:00 AM…

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One Response to ““Survivor” at work: marathon conferences”

  1. […] am firmly convinced it doesn’t. I wrote about this in my blog on March 27th this year, “Survivor at work: marathon conferences”. Nothing has changed […]

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