The WeLoveLocalGov blog post on conferencing and my own footnote on the dreaded conference keynote speech got me thinking (more of  a nightmare really) about some of the other conference horrors perpetrated on unwitting delegates and the employers funding their attendance.  Enjoy.

  • The marketing guy – (on his third phone call) “There’s only a few places left” (lie); “The minister’s giving the keynote” (maybe); “The minister’s keen for people to attend” (lie)
  • The disruption of the late arrivers and early leavers, often the same people
  • Presenters – the know it all; the ego on legs; the 40 slides in 20 minutes; the 1 slide in  20 minutes;  the unreadable encyclopaedic text on slides (“I know you won’t be able to read this but you’ll find it in your conference pack”…where it’s also unreadable); the mumbler; the “I’m not used to these clip-on mics” (bang, hiss, scratch)
  • 200 delegates, a 20 minute refreshment break, one line for coffee
  • The graveyard slot post-lunch – zzzz…
  • Overrunning, building exponentially so the poor devil making the penultimate presentation is asked by the chair in public to complete his 30 minutes prepared script in 10 minutes “to give the panel time to answer questions”
  • The panel – zzzz…
  • Sore bum syndrome
  • (For those of us in business) – “We’ve heard you’re an expert on topic x and we’d like you to give a presentation”  “Do I have to pay a fee for the privilege?”  “Er, yes…”; “It’s a great networking opportunity.  Would you be interested in a stand in the exhibitors’ area?” (= four sad tables + four bored staff members vainly trying to attract delegates’ interest as they hunt for coffee or queue for lunch)
  • The mouse that strolled along the skirting board behind the speaker in the “prestigious” basement conference suite of a top Edinburgh hotel a while ago (true – and it was more entertaining than the speaker)

Unfortunately, we kn0w readers will be able to add significantly to WeLoveLocalGov’s original list and this supplement.