They say the number of people actually paying attention to a presentation is very low. In my humble opinion, sometimes there’s a good reason for that and it’s the even organizers’ fault.

Last week I attended a local Digital Marketing conference that has seriously lowered my expectations of such events. Before getting there, I was really looking forward to it. I was hoping for some insight, some ideas, some cool stuff basically. It was the second edition and last year they got really great feedback. Here’s the link, but it’s only partially translated in English.

How it was? Disappointing! They spread the word among marketers, PR professionals and basically all those interested in the subject. The themes and the people coming seemed quite interested. I mean wouldn’t you be interested in the results of a great Internet research project on the local market? Wouldn’t you want to hear about international associations, about what’s happening in nearby countries, what big agencies like Ogilvy are doing in this area?

The only problem was that if you were genuinely interested in the subject, had been dealing with it for a while and had some idea of it all, you’d have been bored to death. Of course, Ogilvy had an entertaining and interesting presence. Still, when social media stops at FaceBook and YouTube, you have to ask yourself if these people actually think you’re an idiot! There’s more to the online world than that.

And then there were the breaks! Good time to meet cool new people, you’d think. You’d be wrong. Unless being pressed against each other stands for a new networking technique, they really should have booked more room!

Bottom line, I had to give up most of my networking plans, to extract useful information from wherever I could and try to keep myself entertained. I regretted dearly the moment I decided not to take my laptop with me. And I (actually the company) paid for this attendance!

As it appears people don’t know much about organizing such things in Romania, here are my few tips on the matter:

  • Don’t let large groups of people barge into the room half way through the first presentation! The others will also miss important parts of it.
  • Choose your speakers and themes wisely. Go for an average level if you have to, but please don’t go for the absolute basics! Or if you must choose entry level, state that somewhere, so that people don’t end up wasting their time. They won’t pay for it next year and definitely won’t recommend it to others!
  • People coming to such conference also want to meet new people. Make sure they are able to do that!
  • Choose a moderator that can bring value to the conversation/subject. Someone to keep puring irrelevant stuff for 3 minutes is not to be chosen over silence. Ever.

Unfortunately, this is the only conference I know of on the subject that takes place in Bucharest. If you find out of another one, please share your thoughts. If not, I have to start planning some trips or stick to reading stuff online! Thank God there are so many great blogs on almost any topic you’d be interested in!

P.S. If you are wondering why I posted this entry so late, it’s because I hoped to be less harsh on them.

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