Not that long ago, I wrote that it might be time to question if the way we produce conferences and conventions in our industry has become a tad outdated. To get to an honest answer, however, we’d need to ask ourselves why we attend these events in the first place. Are we there to network? Are we seeking an exchange of new ideas through content? And, if so, wouldn’t a really big Zoom meeting suffice?
I wrote again about the state of industry conferences after the team attended Housing Wire’s Annual event in Fall of 2022. We applauded some of the new takes the publication had on the delivery of content at a live event as well as their team’s availability throughout.
My interest in this continuing discussion was sparked by a reader email published by Rob Chrisman in his daily blog sometime in January, 2022. In essence, Rob reported on a conversation he’d had with an industry professional under the age of 30, who, when asked about whether or not he’d attend an industry conference, replied “ Why the heck would I want to stand around with a bunch of 45–65-year-old white guys for a couple days?” Another reader wrote in to Rob, referred to our industry as “the old boys club.” I myself wrote an email to Rob, essentially repeating some of the points I’ve since made in Deeper Thoughts on the matter. I don’t believe many conferences in our industry are inclusive enough. And I still don’t think anything good happens after 10pm!
To my surprise, Rob printed parts of my email ten months later, without comment or interjected opinion. I posted that on my LinkedIn profile, and the number of views and responses took me by surprise. Judging by the likes, this is not simply one Millennial’s gripe. It’s a legitimate topic of interest to industry professionals of all ages.
While market conditions may tamp down travel in 2023, there will still be onsite conferences, seminars and conventions. So I ask the question again, since it seems more than a few of us are asking it: why do we spend large amounts of money to attend conferences? There must be something that compels us. Maybe it’s an opportunity to see multiple clients or partners in one location after one flight. Maybe we’re looking for new clients, and it’s harder for them to ignore us when we’re standing in front of them in line for one of those tasty, conference buffet lunches. Maybe it is the content or exchange of ideas. Or is it the free flowing spirits and a chance to be somewhere, anywhere but at home?
I honestly don’t know. But I ask the question again and invite responses (favorable and otherwise) on my LinkedIn profile, or simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll add a bonus question for those who do have clear feelings as to why we attend conferences.
Do conferences provide us with what we go there for in the first place?
Happy Holidays to all who celebrate. I look forward to continuing this conversation in the New Year!
We at LodeStar are grateful to all of our clients, friends and colleagues who take the time to view Deeper Thoughts. Please consider having a look as well at some of our other great content, including our podcast, “LodeStar’s Lending Leaders,” and “A Tale of Two Mortgages: an original webcomic for the mortgage industry, presented by LodeStar.”
As always, your feedback is welcomed and appreciated!