Ever been to a professional conference or meeting and been underwhelmed? Maybe there was just too much information and you felt like you were being forced to drink from a firehose, or the topics didn’t have much practical application, or the food wasn’t all that great, or there weren’t enough opportunities to network. Perhaps you’ve experienced all of these things.
You could just do it yourself of course. Why not? This guy thought it was a good idea. Charles-Guillaume Étienne is credited with the (loosely-translated) phrase, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” So in that doughty spirit, here are my two cents on why it’s a great idea to bring a meeting to your country and why you, as a go-getter in your profession, should lead the charge.
The statistics company Statista estimates that the tourism industry provided a global economic contribution (direct, indirect and induced) of almost seven trillion US dollars in 2013. As an international conference chair (that’s the future you, by the way!), you can generate interest in your proposal by telling prospective attendees or sponsors about the unique attractions that your country offers.
Then there’s the exposure and enhanced profile you can create for your national organization on the world stage. This is an opportunity to show that you can put on a stimulating, informative and fun event that generates a healthy profit, increases membership in your organization, and sets the standard for future meetings.
Finally, it’s worth considering what organizing an international conference can do for your own personal and professional development. A lot is the short answer. You’ll meet and work with all kinds of new people, both from within your profession and outside it. You’ll add new skills to your resume, you’ll develop new friendships around the world and you’ll get to play a part in shaping the future of your industry.
Getting it done
So that’s the “why” out of the way. How about the “how”? The best piece of advice I can give is to start early; really early. The more time you give yourself to plan and get things right the better. Many international events are put together by teams of committed and hardworking volunteers. Despite all that stuff above about doing it yourself, you really do need a good team of people behind you to put on a big international event.
You could also consider getting help from a professional conference and event organizer. This is the bit where I shamelessly plug the services of Sea to Sky Meeting and Association Management. But seriously, we have been helping to organize international conferences and events for well over a decade and we’re pretty good at it. We can also work with you to produce a request for proposal unique to your destination at no cost. So if you’re ready to take the plunge, we’d love to hear from you. Happy planning!