Well here we are, then: years’ end. Some may say that the internet is already awash with yearly reviews and to add another is simply a waste of precious megabytes. Others may say that they enjoy Meeting Martin and any excuse to read it is a welcome treat.
The truth is, though, that I desperately needed a blog to fill the space on the newsletter and in absence of any proper ones, this will have to do.
Anyway, I joined this industry in August, which already seems a lifetime ago, and I have made several observations that I feel the urge to share.
1. There are too many abbreviations
Nothing can prepare you for the sheer volume of abbreviations and acronyms in this industry. Just when you think you’ve got your HBAAs and your ILEAs worked out, someone jumps out from under your desk with a PCMA.
As is the way for a keen idealist, I began listing them down in a neatly arranged Excel spreadsheet. By October it was clear that I was writing an even more boring and long-winded version of The Never Ending Story.
I have since given up.
2. Grammar goes out the window
Journalists are constantly at odds with many things: law, impregnable bosses, and the acquisition of images of things other than architectural renderings. But the biggest battle is quite clearly fast becoming a losing one: renegade cases.
By this I mean that some kooky designer somewhere, probably in an office full of luminous bean bags and solar-powered espresso machines, has decided that the new company logo should be spelled out all in lower case letters, or that a rogue capital letter must be thrown in seemingly at random. And, in accordance with strict branding guidelines, that this case-crazy design must be presented as such in all press releases and bumf.
yOu eNd uP WITH SOMething ThaT lOOks PropERLY MaD AnD, wOrSe, yOuR reaDEr ThInKs yOu, tHe jOuRnaLisT, haVE NOT DonE your Job proPerly.
It’s a veritable nightmare. Try to make it comply with the English language and within seconds an email arrives asking you to make it comply with the superior brand guidelines instead.
3. It’s a bottomless pit
When I first found out that CN were interested in me I did some light internet research and concluded that the subject of conferences was fairly simple to grasp and that there would be a small pool of stakeholders, all of whom are close-knit chums.
Not so. I totally underestimated the sheer scale of the industry. From venue finders to hostess providers, and from speakers to leakers, it’s a bottomless pit of agencies, venues, associations, personalities and self-appointed consultants.
Every day I am learning about companies I haven’t heard of before of people I didn’t know existed. This makes opinion gathering much easier.
4. Some people don’t know they’re part of it
One of the most staggering things is the volume of people who have no idea that this is their industry. Thousands of people seem to work in events in the UK alone, and I’d hazard a guess and say only about 10% are aware they are actually part of a bigger industry.*
*I have no way of backing up this random figure.
I recently attended a meeting about how to make meetings more interesting and engaging.
I sat there for about an hour, in a chair, in a room, listening to a couple of people talking and not much else and recall being only slightly engaged.
Well, that’s probably enough observations from me for one year. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.