2008-09-25 1 1227
IQPC events - Worth going ?
I have just returned from my first "conference" organised by IQPC. The question that I wanted to answer by looking closely at the event, whether it's worth going.
The answer is -> if you can afford it -> Yes!
So the question is -> why ?
The Concept is a boutique conference that is targeting and audience of between 40 to 60 people for a niche topic like "Project Risk Management" or "Road & Rail Infrastructure" or "Negotiation Skills for Contracting". So aiming at a very specialised Audience. The advantages that come with that is you will just see your peers in the audience which is a great networking opportunity and you are able to share experiences and issues and find resolutions or new ideas immediately. At regular conferences you have to identify your potential peers and topics to talk about as the audience is bigger and wider spread. The presentations are focusing on the particular topic and just on that.
Yes, IQPC is a marketing company, that's there bread and butter, its all about bumps on seats and sometimes they take it a little bit to far as some of the participants fead back to me, in finding and identifying addresses to send their little flyers to with programs of upcoming events. Aggressive but positive for them. How ever, just with that concept they are able to taylor and identify the audiences required to fill an event and make it worthwhile for the participants.
The feedback forms will and can be used to identify high qualified speakers and make sure that they are speaking at the next event for a similar topic. And those feedback forms have been used a lot by the participants. Jacquie Bran, one of the General Managers for IQPC, stays in close contact with the presenters and makes sure that both parties are able to benefit from each other.
The Masterclass and the Workshops, which is somehow the frame for the conference, are intimate events that are great for sharing experiences and lessons learnt. And that's because they are so small from an audience perspective and participants get a lot out of that approach.
Yes, its expensive, but as i mentioned in my previous post, if you have a company paying for it that's great, if not and you find it to expensive, GO and SPEAK and PRESENT as you get the conference for free (beside the time you have to spend preparing and are out of your job). In other conferences speakers just get a discount and need to pay that discounted price for the conference.
A lot of participants wondered that neither the Speakers nor the Chairman do get anything out of that (beside a potential compensation for travel and accommodation). The speakers expose themselves to the audience, will get feedback after the presentation by talking to people as well as based on the feedback forms and have a reason to prepare a topic and make it a presentation which forces preparation and research and as long as that concept works to engage speakers, why change. The only with that is, that many speakers from the Government are attracted as they do not have to take a day off for that as they can prepare the presentation during their "working time" as well as present as "working time". Might be a reason why we had a lot of presentations from the Government.
What to improve:
Speaker selection and topic selection could be a little improved. Sometimes the speakers have been selected and the topic was already printed in the Program therefore the speakers had to squeeze their presentation into the topic. Also some of the speakers have not been exposed to IQPC before they have been selected, so no QA took place, which is quite a risk. How ever, Jacquie mentioned that this is the exception and almost everybody gets spoken to prior before they are selected, and the clear evidence of that was that Jacquie had to rush off one evening to do a telephone call with a potential speaker out of Denmark.
There should be the option to do networking in the evening, like a dinner function or networking at the bar. Most of the delegates stayed at the venue anyway, so would have been a good option to enforce that especially between the 1st and 2nd day of the conference. As most of us enjoyed talking to the peers this would provide another option to make the event even more valuable.